2021 Grammy Nominees spark controversy


As usual, the 2021 Grammy nominations upset fans.

It seems that every year, the Grammy nominations cause some controversy, and this year was no exception. On November 24th 2020, The Recording Academy officially announced the nominees and host for the 63rd annual Grammy Awards. But the news that followed the livestream seemed to overshadow the actual event.   

“The Daily Show’s” host and previously Grammynominated performer Trevor Noah will be hosting this year, taking the reins from Alicia Keys, who has been the host for the past two years.  

“Trevor is the perfect choice to lead us through what’s sure to be an incredible evening full of music, unforgettable moments, unity and inspiration,” said Harvey Mason Jr., Chair and CEO of the Recording Academy.  

Beyonce is nominated for her song Black Parade,” her music video for Brown Skin Girl,” her new film Black Is King, and Savage remix with Megan Thee Stallion, with a total of nine nominations overall and the most for this year. On Twitter, many were quick to point out that she received all of them without an album 

Some praised her:  



And others felt that it was undeserved.  



BTS also made history as the first KPop group to be nominated for a Grammy, with their song Dynamite in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category. They celebrated on Twitter with a video of their live reaction to the news.  

Among the other notable nominees was Taylor Swift for her album Folklore, Doja Cat for “Say So”, Megan Thee Stallion for Savage, and Dua Lipa for her album Future Nostolgia.  

However, the controversies did not stem from who was nominated, but from who was not. The Weeknd shockingly received zero nominations for his album After Hours.  

His album was well received with music critics, with positive reviews from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Pop Matters and The Guardian. In March, 1.02 million Apple Music users pre-added it to their libraries, making the album with the most global pre-adds in the platform’s history. He had two number 1 singles with Blinding Lights and Heartless. After his continual success with the album, it was a shock to many that he was not nominated at all.  

Following the livestream, Harvey Mason Jr. indicated that the nomination committees were the reason that After Hours did not receive any nominations. Major publications hinted at the committees being unable to decide whether his album was pop or rhythm and blues, but Mason made no clear statement on whether that was true or not.  

The Weeknd seemed to feel differently after the livestream, accused the Recording Academy of corruption.  




Although After Hours was by far the most surprising snub, it was not the only one. R&B singer Summer Walker and Japanese-British pop singer Rina Sawayama were excluded as well 

Despite controversies with her claims about COVID-19, Summer Walker has had a successful couple of years with 13 hits on the Billboard R&B songs chart. Rina Sawayama made waves with her debut album, Sawayama, and gained lots of critical acclaim for her work. They were both predicted to be nominated for the Best New Artist category.  

As every year around this time, the authenticity of the Recording Academy voters has been called into question. Lobbying is a tactic used by record labels and artists to try and convince voters to consider their work. It’s nothing new; lobbying is rampant in almost every major award show: The Oscars, The Emmys, and of course, The Grammys.  

The increasingly aggressive lobbying that goes on every year has called into question the integrity of the voting process and the validity of some of the awards handed out. Voters often recieve exclusive performances, concert tickets, “for your consideration” emails and billboards, and more in exchange for votes. Some executives will even gather the names and emails of potential voters and blast them with emails during voting season, and smaller artists have been known to pull money together for advertising.  

The Grammys is supposed to be a peer-based awards show that honors excellence in music, but, because of lobbying, rigging accusations, and shocking snobs, it is easy to wonder if it is really about the music, and not just money.