At Least the Weeknd Tried to Say Something

At Least the Weeknd Tried to Say Something
Image:Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

The fits were predictable: Cara Delevingne wore a sparkly, impeccably tailored Dolce and Gabbana suit. Machine Gun Kelly wore a Jedi-inspired, all white Balmain set. Dua Lipa wore an uninspiring Versace mini dress, loosely themed around aquatic life. The 2020 American Music Awards, which took place at a mostly vacant, socially distant Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday night, was unremarkable—just like many of the performances and costuming. However! One man’s look is worthy of commentary, because only one man tried to say something with his physical appearance: The Weeknd. He performed and accepted the award for Best Soul/R&B Album bloodied and with his head bandaged.

According to Elle, the move is a commentary on drunk driving, a direct reference to his now ubiquitous radio hit, “Blinding Lights,” which he told Esquire is about earlier this year: “‘Blinding Lights’ [is about] how you want to see someone at night, and you’re intoxicated, and you’re driving to this person and you’re just blinded by streetlights. But nothing could stop you from trying to go see that person, because you’re so lonely. I don’t want to ever promote drunk driving, but that’s what the dark undertone is.”

Furthering that message in his fashion is effectual. I’ve been thinking about drunk driving a lot these days—how young people may be fooled into thinking driving alone is much more “covid safe” than taking a ride share service, and how dangerous that is after having a few. Alcohol sales are up, after all, and drunk driving tends to increase, too, around the holidays. Then again, it’s also simply pleasant to see a performer make a statement of any kind, in any small way, in a night that largely lacked energy of any kind. My bar is on the ground.

And so I’m not sure if it is that lethargy that this year has caused, but now I’m excited to see him perform at the 2021 Super Bowl—last week, I wasn’t; I’m not sure the man can dance. It will be unlike any halftime show before, and surely, he’ll use that time to do something interesting. Or maybe he’ll make another captivating statement with his look. And if he doesn’t, maybe he’ll bring out Ariana Grande?

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