top of page

SZA’s Manager Pulled Her 2023 VMAs Performance Over ‘Disrespectful’ Artist of the Year Snub

Terrence "Punch" Henderson, SZA's longtime manager, explained why SZA, one of the ceremony's most-nominated artists, did not perform at Tuesday's awards show.

“Obviously, she had one of the best years, if not the best year, of any artist at this point. I don’t see why she wouldn’t be nominated for artist of the year. It just really didn’t make any sense to me. It’s disrespectful,” SZA’s manager, Terrence “Punch” Henderson, tells The Hollywood Reporter in an interview.

Those nominated for artist of the year included Beyoncé, Shakira, Nicki Minaj, Karol G, Doja Cat and Swift, who won the prize at Tuesday night’s show.

Punch is the co-president of Top Dawg Entertainment, home to acts like ScHoolBoy Q, Jay Rock, Doechii, SiR and former client Kendrick Lamar. He says he contacted MTV about the snub — on a call about a potential SZA performance at the awards show — but “they couldn’t give a clear answer as to why she wasn’t [nominated]. It was just, ‘Well, she’s nominated for all these other [awards].’”

“And they ended up saying, ‘OK, well we could do another call’ because there were people on [the call] about logistics for the show who didn’t have anything to do with [the nominations]. When we tried to set up the second call, they didn’t want to discuss artist of the year, which to me was really a slap in the face,” he says.

SZA’s epic year included 10 weeks on top of Billboard’s 200 albums chart with SOS, which made history as the longest-leading No. 1 of the 21st century thus far on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart. Her sophomore project, released in December and already a triple-platinum success, launched five top 10 hits on the all-genre Hot 100 chart, including “Kill Bill,” which reached the No. 1 position. Her current single “Snooze” is spending its eighth week on top of the R&B charts and sits at No. 7 on the Hot 100.

“Why wouldn’t she be nominated for artist of the year? Even with the other artists that were nominated for artist of the year, some of them were even off-cycle. They didn’t have an album out. I mean, no disrespect to them or anybody else; everybody’s great and all of that, but still, you can’t discredit what SOS has done and is currently doing,” he continues.

MTV didn’t reply to emails from THR when asked how the network selected the nominees for artist of the year.

SZA’s VMA nominations included album of the year, song of the year and best R&B, which she won for the hit “Shirt.” But MTV’s failure to resolve the issue didn’t sit well with SZA’s manager. “I figured, why go perform and do this if she’s not going to be respected to the highest level? So, it was my call to actually pull out of the performance,” he explains.

If I were SZA I's be pissed at my manager for making these comments. Whatever happened to just being honored that you were nominated?

SZA is immensely talented, and doesn't need some dated VMA for people to know her worth.

21 views0 comments


bottom of page