Frank Ocean, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, and More: The History of Artists vs. The Grammys

The Grammys have a long history of being controversial. While fans and the entire industry, are still processing the shock that The Weeknd has received zero nominations at the 2021 Grammys, the Recording Academy are just showing their corrupt ways once again.

With an image centered around being the most “prestigious” award show in music, one would imagine it to not be as corrupt as it is. Unfortunately, with the power that the Recording Academy has, they’ve utilized their resources to ultimately get what they want, while shutting out artists along the way.

The Weeknd isn’t the first artist to stand up, the likes of Nicki Minaj, Frank Ocean, and Ariana Grande have stood their ground, and called out the Recording Academy. Here’s a modern revisit of artists vs. the Grammys:

Nicki Minaj vs. The Grammys:

In 2012, Nicki Minaj controversially performed “Roman Holiday” at the Grammys. During an episode of Queen Radio, Nicki revealed that Grammy producers tried to convince her not to perform, but she did anyways. Minaj then went on to say she’s been bullied by former Grammys producer, Ken Ehrlich, and has since been blackballed by the award show. Minaj has yet to win a Grammy despite her decade-spanning legacy.

Frank Ocean slams the Grammys:

Similarly, Frank Ocean also called out Ken Ehrlich, who criticized Frank’s 2013 performance of “Forest Gump”. Ken called Frank’s performance “faulty” and “not great TV”. Frank responded by slamming him and the Grammys in a lengthy tumblr post, hinting he pulled out from a appearance at the 2017 ceremony. 

Rihanna shut out for a reason?

In 2016, Rihanna pulled out of a performance of “Kiss It Better” at the Grammys at the very last minute due to bronchitis. The year later, Rihanna received 8 nominations, but ultimately walked away with 0 wins. Leading fans to believe she was blackballed after pulling out from the 2016 show.

Lorde and the ‘Melodrama’ snub:

In 2018, Lorde refused to participate in a tribute to Tom Petty, because she wasn’t offered to perform her own music. Ken Ehrlich responded “there’s really no way we can deal with everybody” — Lorde walked away with only 1 nomination, and no win. 

Drake vs. The Grammys:

Things weren’t so sweet for Ariana Grande:

In 2019, Ariana Grande was yet another artist to call out Ehrlich after she backed out of a planned performance. Ehrlich claimed it was “too late for [Grande] to pull something together”. Grande shut down his claim, stating he was lying about her, and thus decided not to attended. While Grande won a Grammy for ‘Sweetener’, the year later she was completely shut out for her album ‘Thank U, Next’ as she received 5 nominations but winning 0.

The Weeknd’s ultimatum:

In 2020, The Weeknd was completely shut out and the biggest snub in history occurred as he received 0 nominations for the 2021 Grammys.  It was reported that The Weeknd received an ultimatum and had to chose between the Super Bowl or the Grammys. The Weeknd getting shut out proves that The Recording Academy has continuously used artists to send a clear message — It’s either them or nothing.

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