As most of you know, the Weeknd performed at the Superbowl. And as most of you also know, the R&B artist felt very strongly about being snubbed by the Grammys. When he was shut out from the 2021 Grammy Awards, he said that his three existing Grammys don’t mean anything. Many critics and fans agreed that “After Hours”, his album of 2020, was a massive commercial success. Especially “Blinding Lights,” which remained on the Top 10 charts for a whopping 43 weeks.
According to many, the snub came after issues arose over Abel performing at both the Grammys and the Super Bowl. On social media, he wrote, “Collaboratively planning a performance for weeks to not being invited? In my opinion zero nominations = you’re not invited!”
He also went on to blatantly call the Grammys racist, citing that in the past 61 years, only 10 Black artists have earned album of the year. In that way, the Weeknd’s fight isn’t just for him, it’s a fight for representation.
The whole scenario has made him give up on award shows — they’ve lost their shine. Still, he managed to get his revenge by performing at the Superbowl and throwing a ton of shade at the award show — in his elaborate performance. He promised an unforgettable halftime performance after the scandal. We got what he promised, and more, sparking plenty of memes after the show.
As he performed “Blinded By The Light” (the song he felt particularly snubbed for) dozens of bandaged up backup dancers in matching red blazers. Some people saw the bandages as a witty way to interpret masks, but instead, it was a new take on the bandages which he’s worn in his previous videos.
Instead, they’re a comment on how people in the industry are constantly chopping away at themselves and editing their natural sense of self to fit the demanding and superficial image of what award shows and the media consider “perfect.”
Oh, and he also invested $7 million dollars of his own money into the Superbowl halftime show so that it could be performed the way he intended it in his original vision. His manager even confirmed it in an interview with Billboard. Some people thought that he saw it as an investment that he’d make back in no time, but we’d say that’s $7 million worth of resentful pettiness, and we’re absolutely here for it.
The performance was bright, memorable, and in a sense, a preview towards his upcoming 2022 After Hours tour. This was a clever way to promote it and make the most of it. Funnily enough, the tickets went on sale for his tour on February 8, which was one day after the Superbowl. After all, not every musician gets invited to play at the Superbowl, so why not make the most of it? People who thought he blew his money impulsively were wrong — instead, it was a very strategic move towards world domination, so the Grammys can see just what they’re missing out on.
Since Abel Tesfaye isn’t here to get the validation of the critics or the accolades, he’s decided to perform exactly how he wants to, and that’s something we respect. The voting panel behind the Grammys is probably not feeling so great about their decision anymore.
To take it further, the mayor of Toronto (the Weeknd’s hometown) was so blown away with the performance that he decided to officially dub February 7 as “The Weeknd Day.” An award show performance in exchange for a day dedicated entirely to you? Sounds like a pretty good trade-off to us.
Still, the fact that he invested his own money is proof that this singer is only willing to do things on his own terms, from now on. While he wants his fans to get as cinematic a performance as possible ( and fill up an emptier than usual stadium) this move was a serious statement, and we hope that more artists take note from him. To boot, the Halftime show delivered a whopping triple-digit of growth in sales, showing that following your heart really is the best move.
Hopefully, this pandemic comes to an end soon with the vaccine becoming globally available, and the Weeknd’s upcoming career moves pan out just as he’d hoped. Abel wants us to stop manipulating ourselves towards unrealistic standards that Hollywood perpetuates, and that’s a mantra that we can definitely get behind in 2021.