By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — The ranks of those accusing the Grammy awards of multiple flaws and problems continue to grow. The latest is the vocalist Halsey who used Instagram to blast the Recording Academy over its exclusion of several artists, herself included. Halsey joined Drake, Elton John, Kid Cudi, Charlie Puth and others. Her comments were later carried in numerous entertainment publications and on the Variety website.
The Weeknd got things started last week when he ripped the Academy for not including him in any of multiple categories despite the huge commercial success of his latest recording. He accused the Academy of being “still corrupt,” echoing charges that have been raised by many others. Interim Grammy chief Harvey Mason Jr. responded in an interview with Variety early last week.
“All the records get the fairest of fair shakes,” Mason said. “We listen to all the music — it’s a long, arduous process and people take pride in it. The people in that room care: there’s no agendas in there, there’s no “let’s snub this person’ or that person. It’s about, ‘Let’s try and find excellence.’”
Halsey’s post said, “I’ve been thinking and wanted to choose my words carefully because a lot of people have extended sympathy and apology to me since the Grammy nominations. The Grammys are an elusive process. It can often be about behind the scenes private performances, knowing the right people, campaigning through the grapevine, with the right handshakes and ‘bribes’ that can be just ambiguous enough to pass as ‘not bribes.’ And if you get that far, it’s about committing to exclusive TV performances and making sure you help the Academy make their millions in advertising on the night of the show.”
“Perhaps sometimes it is (!!!) but it’s not always about the music or quality or culture,” she continued. “Just wanted to get that off my chest. @theweeknd deserves better, and Manic did too [woman shrugging emoji] perhaps it’s unbecoming of me to say so but I can’t care anymore. While I am THRILLED for my talented friends who were recognized this year, I am hoping for more transparency or reform. But I’m sure this post will blacklist me anyway.”
The Academy has been embroiled in controversy since the termination earlier in the year of former president/CEO Deborah Dugan. She has filed a complaint against NARAS which among other things accused the Grammys of “egregious conflicts of interest, improper self-dealing by Board members and voting irregularities with respect to nominations for Grammy Awards, all made possible by the ‘boys’ club’ mentality and approach to governance at the Academy.”
No one from the Academy responded to Variety’s request for comment, nor did Halsey make any additional statements beyond what is in her initial Instagram post.