«F*ck the Grammys!»: J Balvin, Ariana Grande & Those Who Declared War Against Them

We review the names and messages of those who questioned the prestige of the coveted golden gramophone

Archivado en: Ariana Grande  •   J Balvin  •   Justin Bieber  •   Nicki Minaj  •  

The Grammys are the ultimate accolades in the music industry. Each year, those who receive a golden gramophone see their work, and above all, their art recognized. However, they are never exempt from controversy. Not everyone can make it to the nominations, and of course, not everyone can win. There have been occasions when music stars have felt particularly offended for not finding their name among the various candidates. They have even lost their composure.

Across the pond, figures like J Balvin, The Weeknd, Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Zayn Malik, Drake, or Kanye West have also raised their voices, going so far as to label the gala (and the members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States, professionals responsible for curating and selecting projects and winners) as corrupt.

Let’s review some artists who have cast doubt (and harshly criticized) the authority of the Grammy Awards:


In 2021, after the announcement of the nominations for the 22nd edition of the Latin Grammy Awards, J Balvin called for a boycott of the ceremony. Although he didn’t elaborate, he claimed that the awards did not appreciate Latin artists, fueling the flames in his beef with rapper Residente. At that moment, Balvin was nominated for Song of the Year for «Agua» alongside Tainy, having performed a year earlier at the ceremony with María Becerra.

«The Grammys don’t value us, but they need us. It’s my opinion, and nothing against other genres because they deserve all the respect. But the trick is getting boring. We give them ratings, but they don’t give us respect (P.S. I’m nominated, so don’t say I’m bitter. Those with power in the genre SHOULD NOT GO!! That means everyone because we are a movement.»J Balvin via X (Twitter)
J Balvin Teams Up With Myke Towers in 'Celos'
J Balvin is seen outside Dior, during the Paris Fashion Week, 2023. Edward Berthelot / Getty Images


In 2021, Zayn Malik didn’t mince words and took a direct shot at the Recording Academy: if you don’t buy your nomination, they don’t consider you for the Grammys. «Fuck the Grammys to anyone associated with it. Unless you shake hands and send gifts, there’s no nomination considerations. Next year I’ll send you a basket of sweets,» he said after not receiving any recognition for the release of his second album, «Nobody Is Listening.»


A year earlier, The Weeknd accused the Grammy organization of lack of transparency. Through a letter published by The New York Times, he labeled the Recording Academy as corrupt, publicly stating that he had instructed his record label team to never submit any proposals for nomination again.

«The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans, and the industry transparency,» he shared on social media.

Similarly, he questioned the purpose of «planning a performance for weeks together only to not be invited,» as, in his opinion, receiving no nominations for «After Hours,» which includes hits like «Blinding Lights» or «Save Your Tears,» was equivalent to not receiving a formal invitation to attend.

Immediately after this accusation, the Grammy Awards announced a series of internal changes in the nomination process. «Over 90% of the [Academy] members will have to go through a requalification process at the end of the year, ensuring that the voting body is actively engaged in music creation,» they explained through an official statement, eliminating the secret committees that The Weeknd even labeled as racist.


Like Abel Tesfaye, in 2020 Justin Bieber, although nominated for an award, formally complained against the Academy for being nominated in the Pop category instead of R&B. While not wanting to sound ungrateful, he expressed his opinion as follows:

«I am flattered to be acknowledged and appreciated for my artistry. I am very meticulous and intentional about my music. With that being said, I set out to make an R&B album. ‘Changes’ was and is an R&B album, and it is not being acknowledged as such, which is strange to me. I grew up admiring R&B music and wished to make a project that would embody that sound. For this not to be put into that category feels weird, considering that from the chords to the melodies, to the vocal tyle all the way down to the hip hop drums chosen it is undeniably, unmistakably an R&B album! To be clear I absolutely love pop music, it just wsn’t what I set out to make this time around. My gratitude for feeling respected for my work remains and I am honored to be nominated either way.»Justin Bieber via Instagram


Ver esta publicación en Instagram


Una publicación compartida de Justin Bieber (@justinbieber)


Nicki Minaj took advantage of all the controversy in 2020 to bring up what happened to her in 2012 when she was nominated for Best New Artist. In that edition, Bon Iver received the award, and she didn’t like it, hinting that there was some racism in the core of the awards. «Let’s never forget that the Grammys didn’t give me the Best New Artist award when I had 7 songs simultaneously on the Billboard list and was the first rapper of the last decade to have the best opening week, which could inspire an entire generation. But they gave it to the white man Bon Iver,» she posted on Twitter at that time.


The author of hits like «Without Me» shared on Instagram her thoughts on these awards when she was left without a Grammy in 2020 despite receiving three nominations. «The Grammys are an elusive process. They often rely on private performances that happen behind the scenes, campaigns during gossip, with handshakes and bribes that can be ambiguous enough to not seem like it.» Like The Weeknd, she accused the Academy of having a too secretive process. «Not everything is always based on music, quality, or culture. While I am EXCITED for friends who have been recognized this year, I hope for more transparency or some reform, but hey, I’m sure they’ll blacklist me anyway,» she added.


«What the hell is wrong with the Grammys?» tweeted Machine Gun Kelly in 2021 when he failed to secure a spot in any rock category in a very fruitful year for him after the release of «Tickets to My Downfall.»


Even Ariana Grande had problems performing live during one of the events. In 2019, due to a disagreement with the Grammy higher-ups, she was forced to cancel the musical number she was preparing, citing a supposed lack of time («it was too late to put it together,» they said).

However, her perspective was different: «I can pull together a performance overnight, and you know that, Ken [Ehrlich] (executive of the program),» she expressed on her social media. «When you stifle my creativity and my expression, I decided not to attend.» It was later revealed that she did not perform due to a disagreement over the songs she was going to perform.

Original article by Ana Escobar on LOS40.com