2016 is already off to a tremendous start for Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd. The pop singer is looking at seven Grammy nominations, as well as an Oscar nomination for his Fifty Shades of Grey hit, “Earned It,” which is up for Best Original Song. The singer will also perform during the Academy Awards, which air on February 28.
But has his Oscar nomination been overshadowed by the backlash the Academy has been receiving for its lack of diversity among its nominees? Possibly, but the singer isn’t letting that hinder his celebrating his successes and is glad the conversation about diversity is continuing.
In a new in-depth interview with the LA Times, The Weekend spoke on the subject, saying that he didn’t realize at first that he was the only major person of color to receive a nomination from the Academy.
“I didn’t even realize it. When I got nominated I wasn’t really looking at any other nominations,” The Weekend says during the interview. “I was ecstatic, I was so happy. What an overwhelming feeling, it’s the Academy Awards. It’s like your hard work is finally getting recognized.”
“You know, music is so diverse. My fans couldn’t even put a face or color or anything to my music,” the singer continues. “The same with film, it’s such a diverse thing. Every movie you see now is inspired by diversity. So it’s unfortunate... but I think it’s much deeper than the Academy or deeper than the film or music industry. It’s an issue that the nation has been dealing with, and I’m glad this has sparked a conversation... it needed to happen. And good for the Academy for trying to make the new changes.”
The Weeknd went on to say that if this year’s host, Chris Rock, decided not to go through with hosting the awards, it would’ve changed his mind about attending, saying, “If Chris Rock pulled out, it would have been like holy s**t. I definitely can’t show up.”
Awards season kicks off on Monday, February 15 with the Grammys airing on CBS. The Oscars will follow, on Sunday, February 28, to be aired on ABC.
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(Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage)