Halsey Claims ‘Handshakes and Bribes’ Determine Grammy Nominees


Halsey is the latest artist to come forward with accusations against the Recording Academy’s Grammy nomination process.

The singer says it’s all “campaigning through the grapevine, with the right handshakes and ‘bribes.’”

Halsey is actually a two-time Grammy nominee. She picked up a nod in 2016 for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Closer” with the Chainsmokers. She also snagged a nomination for Album of the Year, for her work as a featured guest on Justin Bieber’s Purpose.

Even still, the singer has never been nominated for her own music. This year, 2020’s Grammy-eligible Maniac — along with that album’s single “Without Me,” which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 — were passed over for Grammy nominations.

Halsey Calls Out the Grammys Nomination Process

With no nods at the 2021 ceremony, Halsey took to social media to call out the process. She knows that artists deserve better, and it seems like she doesn’t care if her call-out gets her blacklisted. She’s more concerned with gaining “more transparency” or “reform” in the process.

“I’ve been thinking and wanted to choose my words carefully because a lot of people have extended sympathy and apology to me since the Grammy nominations,” Halsey wrote on Instagram.

The singer says that “the Grammys are an elusive process.” By that, she means that it’s not as straightforward as the general public is led to believe. And to be honest, I’m not surprised; though, I am disappointed to have it confirmed.

“It can often be about behind the scenes private performances, knowing the right people, campaigning through the grapevine, with the right handshakes and ‘bribes’ that can be just ambiguous enough to pass as ‘not bribes,’” Halsey continued. “And 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.”

She goes on to note that “it’s not always about the music or quality or culture.” Halsey also said that she is “THRILLED” for her friends that were recognized with nominations this year, but adds, “I am hoping for more transparency or reform.”

Halsey won’t be holding her breath for a Grammy in the future, though. She wrote, “But I’m sure this post will blacklist me anyway.”

Also in her post, she added, “[The Weeknd] deserves better” — a reference to the Weeknd calling the Grammys “corrupt” after he was snubbed.

The Weeknd Snubbed By the Grammys

Only hours after the 2021 Grammy nominations were announced, the Weeknd responded with a tweet: “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency.”

The Weeknd was reportedly in talks to perform at the ceremony. But inside sources claim that it came down to an ultimatum about playing the Grammys or playing the Super Bowl. And after weeks of discussions, the Weeknd was suspiciously ignored by the Recording Academy.

These two aren’t the only ones criticizing the Recording Academy.

Deborah Dugan, former president and CEO of the Recording Academy, accused the organization of corruption and a “boys’ club” mentality. She was the first female president and CEO of the organization, but was ousted as a leader earlier this year.

Other Artists Criticizing the Grammys for Lack of Inclusivity

Criticisms of the Recording Academy and the Grammys aren’t just limited to transparency, either. Many artists, such as Kanye West and Tyler, the Creator have spoken out about the way the awards ceremony treats Black artists.

Tyler, the Creator denounced the Best Urban Contemporary Album category earlier this year. He argued that the word “urban” is just “a politically correct way to say the n-word.”

The Academy later changed the name of the category in response.

Back in 2016, Kanye West spoke out on Twitter, saying “Yes I have a problem with the Grammys.”

He went on to say, “You like your Black people a certain way also. You wouldn’t have Future perform and that man owned the clubs last summer. We need to see Young Thug at the Grammys. Not just me and [Jay-Z] in a suit.”

Artists like Frank Ocean, Kanye, Drake, Macklemore, and Cardi B have all chosen to withhold music from Grammy consideration in recent years over the lack of inclusivity.