As with pretty much everything else in the last year, the 2021 Grammy Awards will look very different from past ceremonies. This time around, host Trevor Noah will be emceeing from an undisclosed location somewhere in Los Angeles with only a small audience of nominees, performers, and their plus-ones, in stark contrast to the typically jam-packed, star-studded event that's been held at the Staples Center for the last two decades. Beyond the obvious differences in venue and audience size, the show will also be missing some very familiar faces. At least one of the world's biggest musicians will be skipping the event due to ongoing beef with the Recording Academy: After being completely left off this year's nomination sheet, The Weeknd announced that not only will he stop attending the ceremony this and every year in the future, but he also won't even allow his music to be considered for awards.
Other musicians, meanwhile, will be absent from the night's proceedings due to social distancing restrictions, if they weren't nominated for any awards or tapped as performers this time around. In this category, unfortunately for us all, is Rihanna. Her decision not to attend the 2021 Grammys doesn't seem to be part of an explicit boycott of the event, but rather is likely due simply to the (devastating) fact that she hasn't released any new music in quite some time. As the Navy is undoubtedly all too aware, it's been more than half a decade since she put out her last album, Anti, which was nominated for eight Grammys in 2017 (though snubbed for Album of the Year).
And though Rihanna has barely even mentioned releasing her ninth album in recent years—and a representative told the New York Post this weekend that they "haven't heard anything" about new music—she hasn't exactly been twiddling her thumbs. In the last year, Rih expanded her expert- and fan-loved Fenty Beauty line into skincare with the launch of Fenty Skin, and also continued to roll out plenty of sexy new additions to her Savage X Fenty lingerie line. Honestly, now that we know what Rihanna is capable of outside of music—to wit: the skincare wizardry that is the Fenty Skin Flash Nap eye cream and, most recently, the absolutely stunning Valentine's Day-themed Savage X Fenty drop—it's almost enough to make us stop commenting "R9????" on every single one of her social media posts. Almost.