The Grammy Awards are the biggest night in music. Some hardworking artists finally get their flowers, while other well-deserving ones unfortunately get snubbed. Most singers and musicians politely smile and clap no matter who wins, but others share their true feelings about the ceremony.
Here are 21 artists who've called out or boycotted the Grammys and why:
1.In his acceptance speech for the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award at the 2024 Grammy Awards, Jay-Z called out the Grammys for snubbing Beyoncé, his wife, year after year. He said, "I don't want to embarrass this young lady, but she has more Grammys than everyone and never won Album of the Year. So even by your own metrics, that doesn't work. Think about that. The most Grammys; never won Album of the Year. It doesn't work."
He continued, "Some of you are going to go home and feel like you've been robbed, some of you may get robbed, some of you don't belong in the category... No, when I get nervous, I tell the truth... Outside of that, we got to keep showing up. Just in life, we got to keep showing up...until they give you all those accolades you feel you deserve."
2.A few hours ahead of the 2024 Grammys, Drake shared a clip of his 2019 acceptance speech, when he told other artists that such awards aren't necessary, on his Instagram story. He also wrote, "All you incredible artists remember this show isn't the facts it's just the opinion of a group of people who's name are kept a secret (literally you can google it)."
"Congrats to anybody winning anything for hip hop but this show doesn't dictate shit in our world," he added.
He added, "Collaboratively planning a performance for weeks to not being invited? In my opinion zero nominations = you’re not invited!"
He later told Billboard, “I use a sucker punch as an analogy. Because it just kind of hit me out of nowhere. I definitely felt...I felt things. I don’t know if it was sadness or anger. I think it was just confusion. I just wanted answers. Like, ‘What happened?’ We did everything right, I think. I’m not a cocky person. I’m not arrogant. People told me I was going to get nominated. The world told me. Like, ‘This is it; this is your year.’ We were all very confused. If you were like, ‘Do you think the Grammys are racist?’ I think the only real answer is that in the last 61 years of the Grammys, only 10 Black artists have won Album of the Year. I don’t want to make this about me. That’s just a fact. Look, I personally don’t care anymore. I have three Grammys, which mean nothing to me now, obviously. It’s not like, ‘Oh, I want the Grammy!’ It’s just that this happened, and I’m down to get in front of the fire, as long as it never happens again."
Then, right before the ceremony, he announced his decision to boycott the awards completely, telling the New York Times, "Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys."
4.In response to a fan who asked if he thought The Weeknd was snubbed, Wiz Khalifa tweeted, "Yea that's a surprise but its politics. If you don't show up to their parties they don't throw your name around."
5.When their album Manic didn't receive any nominations at the 2021 Grammys, Halsey called the process out on their Instagram story, writing, "The Grammys are an elusive process. It can be about behind the scenes private performances, knowing the right people, campaigning through the grapevine — with just enough handshakes and 'bribes' that can be just ambiguous enough to pass as 'not-bribes.'"
She continued, "If you get that far, it's about committing to exclusive TV performances and making sure you help the Academy make their millions in advertising on the night of the show. While I am THRILLED for my talented friends who were recognized this year, I am hoping for more transparency or reform. But I'm sure this post will blacklist me anyway."
6.In 2021, Zayn Malik — who's yet to receive any Grammy noms — tweeted, "Fuck the grammys and everyone associated. Unless you shake hands and send gifts, there’s no nomination considerations. Next year I’ll send you a basket of confectionary."
7.When Bad Bunny performed a mashup of his Spanish-language songs "El Apagón" and "Después de la Playa" at the 2023 Grammys, proper closed captions weren't provided. Instead, his lyrics were labeled "[SPEAKING NON-ENGLISH]" and "[SINGING IN NON-ENGLISH]." He told Vanity Fair that it was "so fucked up."
He continued, "It’s ugly to say that I saw it as normal. Then it was like, wow, wait a minute, what the hell? Why don’t they have someone? Knowing that I was going to be there. ... I sing for those who want to listen to me and those who understand me."
8.50 Cent also criticized the lack of appropriate captions during Bad Bunny's performance. On Instagram, he said, "The Grammys need to be check about this, Fvcking @badbunnypr bigger than everybody right now and you can’t pay for closed caption. Wtf is this speaking Non-English. 🤨FIX IT! #bransoncognac #lecheminduroi."
In a follow-up post, he added, "👀WTF going on here, 🤨I DONT WANT TO HEAR SHIT FIX IT! #bransoncognac #lecheminduroi."
9.When the 2021 Grammy nominations came out, Justin Bieber expressed frustration that the three noms his album Changes received were all in the pop category. On Instagram, he said, "Changes was and is an R&B album. It is not being acknowledged as an R&B album which is very strange to me."
He continued, "I grew up admiring R&B music and wished to make a project that would embody that sound. For this not to be put in that category feels weird considering from the chords to the melodies to the vocal style all the way down to the hip hop drums that were chosen it is undeniably, unmistakably an R&B album!
To be clear I absolutely love Pop music. It just wasn'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."
In the caption, he added, "Please don’t mistake this as me being ungrateful, these are just my thoughts take em or leave em. Thank you to the people who fought for me to even have any noms."
10.In 2020, Fiona Apple called out the Grammys for nominating Dr. Luke [who recently ended a nearly decade-long legal battle with Kesha by settling a defamation suit that stemmed from her abuse allegations against him]. Fiona told the Guardian, "I’m bringing up the Grammys and that’s really something that I shouldn’t be doing, but really, Dr. Luke is nominated [under pseudonym Tyson Trax]? They had [Kesha] up there singing 'Praying' [which is about her alleged abuse] and now they’re gonna go: 'Oh but it’s Tyson Trax!'"
She continued, "I’m waiting to hear more about what Deborah Dugan [former Recording Academy president] has to say [about the culture at the Recording Academy] because that all reeks to me. When you hire somebody and they raise questions and then they get fired? There’s a lot of things that she brought up that make it so that I can’t vet that situation and I don’t really wanna go there and support it."
Then, reflecting on the fact that she was one of the all-female nominees for Best Rock Performance, she said, "I keep going back to them putting Kesha on stage like, 'We believe you' — and I believe her — then two years later, fucking Tyson Trax. Not to go back to that word, but it’s bullshit. The feeling of wanting to celebrate with these women was genuine. But I should have that feeling anyway. I don’t know if anybody who’s nominated can help having the thought: what would I do If I won? My vision was that I would just get up there with a sledgehammer and I wouldn’t say anything, I would take the Grammy and smash it into enough pieces to share and I would invite all the ladies up. My second thought was I wonder if I can get all these ladies to boycott this shit because of Dr. Luke."
11.When all of the 2021 Grammy nominees for Best R&B Album were men, Teyana Taylor tweeted, "Y’all was better off just saying best MALE R&B ALBUM cause all I see is dick in this category."
12.At the 2018 Grammys, only one woman won a main award, and in response to criticism, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow told Variety that women need "to step up." In response Pink tweeted a handwritten note, which said, "Women in music don't need to 'Step Up.' Women have been stepping since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside."
She continued, "Women OWNED music this year. They've been KILLING IT. And every year before this. When we celebrate and honor the talent and accomplishments of women, and how much women STEP UP every year, against all odds, we show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal, and what it looks like to be fair."
13.Frank Ocean made the decision not to submit his album Blonde for consideration at the 2017 Grammys. He told the New York Times, "That institution certainly has nostalgic importance. It just doesn’t seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from, and hold down what I hold down."
"I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated. I’d rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience," he said.
In response, Grammy Awards writer David Wild and producer Ken Ehrlich told Rolling Stone that Frank's 2013 Grammys performance was "not great TV" and "faulty." Calling them out on Tumblr, he said, "Ok Ken (and David). As much as I hate to make you guys famous or even respond to you directly. We all die one day and you're old so fuck it."
He continued, "Yea yea my 2013 performance at the Grammys was absolute shit. Technical difficulties, blah blah. Thanks for the reminder. Very much appreciated. Fuck that performance though. You think that's why I kept my work out of the Grammy process this year? Don't you think I would've wanted to play the show to 'redeem' myself if I felt that way?
In reality, I actually wanted to participate in honoring Prince on the show, but then I figured my best tribute to that man’s legacy would be to continue to be myself out here and to be successful. Winning a TV award doesn’t christen me successful. It took me some time to learn that. I bought all my masters back last year in the prime of my career, that’s successful. Blonde sold a million plus without a label, that’s successful. I am young, Black, gifted, and independent.. That’s my tribute.
I’ve actually been tuning into CBS around this time of year for a while to see who gets the top honor, and you know what’s really not 'great TV’ guys? [Taylor Swift's] 1989 getting Album of the Year over [Kendrick Lamar's] Pimp to a Butterfly. Hands down one of the most 'faulty’ TV moments I’ve seen. Believe the people. Believe the ones who’d rather watch select performances from your program on YouTube the day after because your show puts them to sleep. Use the old gramophone to actually listen bro, I’m one of the best alive. And if you’re up for a discussion about the cultural bias and general nerve damage the show you produce suffers from, then I’m all for it. Have a good night."
14.Similarly, in 2019, Ariana Grande called out Ken Ehrlich after he told AP that she'd been in talks to perform at the ceremony but "felt it was too late for her to pull something together." Ariana tweeted, "i’ve kept my mouth shut but now you’re lying about me. i can pull together a performance over night and you know that, Ken."
She continued, "It was when my creativity & self expression was stifled by you, that i decided not to attend. i hope the show is exactly what you want it to be and more."
15.When Sinéad O'Connor was nominated four times at the 1991 Grammys, she pulled out of the ceremony. She also wrote a letter to the Recording Academy, which read, "As artists I believe our function is to express the feelings of the human race — to always speak the truth and never keep it hidden even though we are operating in a world which does not like the sound of the truth."
She continued, "I believe that our purpose is to inspire and, in some way, guide and heal the human race, of which we are all equal members...[The Grammys] acknowledge mostly the commercial side of art. They respect mostly material gain, since that is the main reason for their existence. And they have created a great respect among artists for material gain — by honoring us and exalting us when we achieve it, ignoring for the most part those of us who have not."
16.After she wasn't nominated in 2023, Charli XCX made this sarcastic Instagram post: "Me not being nominated for a grammy for Crash is like Mia Goth not being nominated for an Oscar for Pearl and only further proves that people don’t wanna see hot evil girls thrive."
17.In Charli's comments, Grimes said, "The Grammies are so irrelevant I wouldn’t even sweat it. I stopped even clocking them in any capacity when I was on the producer of the year board, and they quite literally would not allow me to nominate anyone who wasn’t on a pre-fabricated list that was exceptionally boring."
"I was one of three women and the only person under 40 for sure. It’s literally not a relevant thing. I tried to nominate SOPHIE [the late producer whom Charli dedicated Crash to] and was told that wasn’t allowed," she said.
18.Following his failure to earn any nominations at the 2022 Grammys, Machine Gun Kelly tweeted, "wtf is wrong with the grammys."
19.A day after the 2021 Grammys, Lil Wayne tweeted, "Fuk the Grammys."
A few months earlier, when he didn't receive any noms in the rap category or the general category, he tweeted, "As an artist, when I see da Grammys coming up & I’m not involved nor invited; I wonder. Is it me , my musik, or just another technicality? I look around w respect & wonder competitively am I not worthy?! Then I look around & see 5 Grammys looking bak at me & I go to the studio."
20.Despite being nominated, Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff boycotted the 1989 Grammys after they found out that the rap categories, which were new, wouldn't be broadcasted on TV. Will told Entertainment Tonight, "We don't have the problem with the Grammy as an award or the Grammys as an institution, we just had a problem with the 1989 design of the awards show. We chose to boycott. We feel that it's a slap in the face."
Jeff also said, "They said there wasn't enough time to televise all of the categories. They televised 16 categories, and from record sales, from the Billboard charts, from the overall public's view, there's no way you can tell me that out of 16 categories, that rap isn't in the top 16."
21.And finally, in 2022, Quavo told TMZ, "We need to make our own awards. Awards that appreciate the real shit that’s going on in the streets, that appreciate the culture. That appreciate when guys are the best new artist."
He added, "All these lil stimulations on our artistry is lame 'cause we the creators.”