Saturday, May 8, 2021

Recording Academy Cancels ‘Secret’ Committees Following Backlash from Artists

*The Recording Academy announced on Friday that it has eliminated the “secret” nomination review committees including the Big Four categories: Album, Record, and Song of the Year, as well as Best New Artist.

The move comes after The Weeknd aired his grievances with the Grammy Awards and slammed the Recording Academy for being corrupt. 

After the Canadian-born artist was shut out of this year’s Grammy nominations, he told New York Times that he will boycott the Grammy’s going forward due to the secret committees that review the nominees chosen by the Recording Academy’s voting members. These committees have the final say over who is nominated. 

“Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys,” the statement reads. The Weeknd slammed the Grammys in November, after the nominees for this year’s awards show were announced. 

“The Grammys remain corrupt,” he wrote on Twitter at the time. “You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency.”

READ MORE: The Weeknd Calls Out ‘Corrupt’ Grammys After 2021 Nominations Snub

Nicki Minaj and Zayn Malik shared comments, with the latter calling out the Grammys for a “lack of transparency of the nomination process.” 

Beyoncé fans were similarly floored that she did not win Album of the Year for “Lemonade” in 2017.

John Legend told Entertainment Weekly last year that he thought it was “almost impossible for a Black artist to win Album of the Year.”

In response to the criticism, per HuffPost, Academy has also announced that over 90% of its members will go through a “requalification process” to ensure the “voting body is actively engaged in music creation.” 

Complex writes”the affected committees were primarily made up of music executives whose names were kept from the public. Although the Academy previously defended the anonymous process as a way to protect its members from outside influence, many raised concern that the lack of transparency could result in corruption,” adding, “Although there will still be committees for “Craft” categories, the main Grammy nominations will be determined by the majority of Academy voting members.”

“It’s been a year of unprecedented, transformational change for the Recording Academy, and I’m immensely proud to be able to continue our journey of growth with these latest updates to our Awards process,” Harvey Mason Jr., Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a press release. “This is a new Academy, one that is driven to action and that has doubled down on the commitment to meeting the needs of the music community. While change and progress are key drivers of our actions, one thing will always remain — the GRAMMY Award is the only peer-driven and peer-voted recognition in music. We are honored to work alongside the music community year-round to further refine and protect the integrity of the Awards process.”

Per HuffPost, the Academy trustees also added the Best Global Music Performance and Best Música Urbana Album categories and consolidated the six craft fields into two fields: Presentation Field and Production Field. Additionally, they will reduce the number of categories in which members may vote from 15 to 10.

The changes will go into effect for the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, scheduled to take place Jan. 31, 2022. 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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