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Lauryn Hill’s Team Clarifies 2016 Grammys No-Show

Jason Miller, Getty Images
Jason Miller, Getty Images

Outside of Kendrick Lamar’s stunning performance, one of the biggest storylines of Grammy night was Lauryn Hill‘s alleged cancellation of her scheduled performance alongside The Weeknd. The six-time Grammy winner has maintained that the performance was never authorized or confirmed by either the singer or her team.

A statement released by Lauryn’s team after the awards show claimed that The Grammys announced her appearance prematurely and without approval. They also said that L. Boogie’s busy schedule left her no time to make it to Los Angeles to rehearse and the surprise performance never came to fruition due to its “last minute nature.”

Following the show on Monday, Feb. 15, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow spoke to the press backstage and disputed the statement put out by Hill.

“None of that statement is accurate,” Mr. Portnow said. “We had rehearsals off-site that she didn’t attend, but we had a dress rehearsal onstage that she did attend. When it came to showtime, we were told she was late, three minutes to seven minutes out, but she didn’t make it. Our intention was, and we were ready, right up to the moment of the performance for her to get up onstage. She didn’t get into the building on time. If I have to be someplace on time, I figure out how to do that.”

Yesterday (Feb. 17). Hill’s team doubled down on their initial statement and reiterated that The Grammys had prematurely named the singer as a performer and cited commercials promoting her appearance that ran on CBS in the days leading up to the show.

“In regards to the comments this morning from The Grammys, CBS did announce Ms. Hill’s performance, there were official Grammy television ads that ran for a couple of days naming Ms. Hill as a performer on the show. Her camp was unhappy about this. They had made it clear from the start that although Ms. Hill was going to attempt to make the show, she could not confirm, as there were too many logistical issues that could potentially prevent the performance from happening.

“The performance was also supposed to be a surprise. This was discussed with Grammy organizers, and the TV spots were pulled. As previously mentioned, Ms.Hill attempted a last minute rush to LA, to see if this could happen, but unfortunately timing that day kept it from being a reality. Ms. Hill truly appreciated the invitation, and the efforts made by all parties to try and make the performance happen.”

In a 30-second commercial from CBS that was sent to XXL, Hill is clearly named and teased as one of the big names set to appear during the broadcast’s first hour. The “Lost Ones” rapper has had a history of either cancelling or straight no-showing at scheduled performances so it’s no surprise she is going extra hard to clear her name in this situation.

The Recording Academy has not responded to Hill’s latest statement as of press time.

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