Village People founder Victor Willis is speaking out against The Weeknd's continued boycott of The Grammys. Just a little more than a month after the musician, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, announced he will no longer allow his record label to submit his music for awards consideration, Willis wrote a scathing open letter to The Weeknd implying that he is a hypocrite.
Beginning with, "Pssst, 'The Weeknd,' lighten up on the Grammys already why don't cha!?" the open letter was shared by the group's founder on Facebook on Monday. The singer went on to say that as someone who knows "a thing or two about attacking the Grammys," he believes the "Blinding Lights" singer is "not handling this in the spirit of black protest of this important issue." Willis added that "while black artists like me were making honest complaints about the secret committees," The Weekend was "busy racking up one Grammy after another under those secret committees."
"I don't recall you complaining about the secret committees when you were benefitting 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?" Willis continued. "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."
Willis ended the letter by imploring the musician to cut Harvey Mason Jr., the new chief of the Academy, "some slack." He said Mason is "making real, meaningful and historic changes that will likely benefit the music business for decades to come."
The Weeknd's rift with the Grammys came to a head in November 2020 after his acclaimed album After Hours was snubbed. While the musician at the time slammed the Grammys as "corrupt," he doubled down against the Recording Academy in March when he announced a full boycott. In a statement, The Weeknd said, "because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys." In response, Mason said the group was "disappointed when anyone is upset…But I will say that we are constantly evolving. And this year, as in past years, we are going to take a hard look at how to improve our awards process, including the nomination review committees." Shortly after, Mason announced that the Recording Academy would eliminate the "secret committees" that finalized nominations, something The Weeknd said would "hopefully be a positive move for the future of this plagued award." At this time, the musician has not responded to Willis' open letter.