Ever since his No. 1 album After Hours was snubbed of a 2020 Grammy Award, The Weeknd has not been shy about his criticism of The Recording Academy, even promising to boycott the organization going forward. But The Weeknd isn’t the first singer to publicly call out The Recording Academy for their problematic practices. Village People’s Victor Willis (aka the cop) has a long history of outing the Grammys’ discriminatory practices — and he’s now telling The Weeknd to “lighten up.”
Back in 2017, Willis was outspoken about his disdain for the Grammys. He even reportedly send a letter to The Recording Academy’s president claiming there were “secret committees” that existed to “override the decision of Grammy voters in the event the select committee does not like who the Grammy voter has chosen” for the biggest awards. Willis also cited the controversy around Adele beating out Beyonce in every major category that year. “If certain people at the Grammys don’t like who the voters have chosen,” he wrote, “a Grammy committee will simply override the voters and subsequently select who they think should win. Like Adele, maybe?”
But now, Willis has turned his attention to The Weeknd’s recent comments about the Recording Academy. Penning an open letter to The Weeknd on Facebook, Willis claimed The Weeknd stayed silent when he was “benefiting from those secret committees” in the past. The Village People singer also applauded the work of The Recording Academy’s interm CEO Harvey Mason Jr.:
“Pssst, ‘The Weeknd,’ lighten up on the Grammys already why don’t cha!? I know a thing or two about attacking the Grammys, and their once secret committees. I must say you’re not handling this in the spirit of Black protest of this important issue. You see, while Black artists like me were making honest complaints about the secret committees, you were busy racking up one Grammy after another under those secret committees.
I don’t recall you complaining about the secret committees when you were benefiting from those secret committees. But on the one occasion the secret committees didn’t benefit you, the Grammys are suddenly corrupt, and it’s off with their heads? Under the circumstances, you’re much too talented to be pouting about the Grammys. And it seems you’re out for blood despite the secret committees being eliminated. Negative.
This important American institution known as the Grammys has an African American in there (Harvey Mason) that’s making real, meaningful and historic changes that will likely benefit the music business for decades to come. Cut the brotha some slack!”