Even now, nearly nine months after its release, SZA‘s CTRL is still impossible to miss. The standout, “The Weekend,” for example, is still climbing Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. But this past Grammy Awards didn’t reflect that — as it’s glaringly failed to adequately reflect culture for quite some time now, with the Recording Academy president Neil Portnow dismissing the show’s lack of female representation as the fault of women. “[They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome,” he told Variety after the 2018 Grammys. SZA, for one, isn’t having it.
The artist addressed this year’s Grammys, and her experience with them — she was nominated for five but took home none — in two separate interviews. Speaking to GQ, she revealed that didn’t speak out after the show because she was “mad as hell.” “I just didn’t know how to take it. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t post [online] because I’ve never had to deal with anything I really believed in wholeheartedly, or invested in, and went through something that publicly before,” she said. “I wanted to be honest as f—, and if today I’m just mad as hell, I don’t want to say something that reflects me being mad as hell. But I definitely feel blessed now. I also don’t feel compelled to explain myself… You feel like you’re really falling short and you f—ing failed [your fans]. This is something much bigger than me and a f—ing trophy.”
At the same time, though, SZA brushed off her loss at the Grammys in a recent cover story for The FADER. “I’m not as mad as I thought I would be, she said. “I didn’t have any expectations, actually. That’s why I wasn’t super upset.” She was similarly zen when responding to a question about Portnow’s offensive comment. “Perhaps folks place too much importance on the entire situation in general,” she said. “And place too much importance on the institution.”
SZA had every right to be “mad as hell” at her loss, which is part of the Grammys’ larger issue of representation, and she’s also entitled to shrug it off if she doesn’t feel like making herself vulnerable while fielding questions about a raw moment. That didn’t stop her, however, from issuing a subtle snub to the Grammys. “The United States f—s with my songs,” she told GQ. “We’re changing little girls’ lives across the world, and we didn’t even know what we were doing when we started. This is something much bigger than me and a f—ing trophy. I’m appreciative of the opportunity. But s—happens.”
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Solange attends the Grammy Awards on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California