The Grammy awards have been long hailed as every musician’s ultimate dream because of the prestige associated with the award. The Recording Academy, which holds the award ceremony, is supposed to honour the best in music every year. But like every institution of power and authority run by white men, the Recording Academy has also had its fair share of corruption and bias allegations, and it was no surprise that The Weeknd decided to boycott the awards permanently this year. The decision was followed after the snub his hit ‘Blinding Lights’ received.
The process and secretive voting for the award show has come under criticism earlier times as well. The organisers have been accused of bias against Black and female artists. In 2016, Frank Ocean also refused to submit his hit albums ‘Blonde’ and ‘Endless’ for nomination, calling the Grammy’s nomination process ‘dated’ and not something beneficial for Black artists like him. Countless artists of colour have called out the Academy for its alleged favouritism. Last year, the Academy’s new president Deborah Dugan tried to reform the rigged voting process. The ‘secret committees’ that decide the nominations, a group of small influential people, include industry insiders, executives, and professionals who control the entire nomination process, please them, and earn yourself a nomination.
The current Academy CEO/President Harvey Mason has acknowledged the allegations including Weeknd’s remarks and said that not everyone can be pleased with the nominations and that the sanctity of the awards is still intact but will still work to improve the voting process, “This year, as in past years, we are going to take a hard look at how to improve our awards process, including the nomination review committees,” he said in a statement. It is time that institutions like the Recording Academy look into their outdated workings and evolve into an inclusive space worthy of celebrating music lest they want to lose out on the tainted credibility they have left now.