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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Evolution of The Weeknd

The+Weeknd.

The Weeknd.

It was announced earlier this year that artist The Weeknd would be performing for the Super Bowl’s Halftime show. Following this news, all eyes fell on the Canadian singer. After quite a few failed halftime performances, the pressure was on. Due to all the anticipation leading up to his performance, The Weeknd’s actual set left fans and critics’ split in their opinions. Memes flooded the internet of little mishaps that occurred during his set, while others have gone on social media to show their appreciation for the Canadian singer. Fans have praised him for his creativity and his hard work. Something I was personally impressed by was the Weeknd’s use of his real singing voice, as a lot of artists do not do this while performing live, especially for important performances. Artists have even been caught lip syncing or using autotune in previous halftime performances. Despite your opinions on his Super Bowl set, it is undeniable that The Weeknd is becoming a top tier performer in Hollywood. Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, better known by his stage name “The Weeknd,” has come a long way since the official start of his career back in 2012. After collaborating with Drake on songs like “Crew Love” for his hit album “Take Care,” The Weeknd’s name was introduced. Since then, he has been catapulted into the spotlight. With five number one hits and several other top five songs, The Weeknd is now listened to by millions. His style of pop with rhythm and blues accents makes his music catchy and danceable. It is hard not to like at least one of his songs!
As time has gone on, The Weeknd has added an edge to not only his music, but the music videos he produces. We began to see this shift with the creation of his infamous red suit wearing alter ego. Tesfaye first debuted this character in the music video of his lead single “Heartless.” The Weeknd then began integrating a bigger theme into his work. With every project, this character has become more and more mutilated. With his bloody face as the cover art for his most recent album, the character’s damage is evident. The next time we saw this character for his AMAs performance, he was in a full-face bandage. Tesfaye wanted this bandaging to hint at a change his character was undergoing. During this time, fans wondered: “What change?”
 It was not until the artist’s most recent music video, “Save Your Tears,” that fans were able to see the extreme change that he had been referring to. With the help of exaggerated prosthetics and makeup, the character appeared to have undergone excessive plastic surgery. His new face shocked watchers with a sharp jawline, sunken cheekbones, large lips, and a tiny nose. In an interview with Variety, The Weeknd explained why he had made his character this way, saying “The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrities and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated. It’s all a progression and we watch The Character’s storyline hit heightened levels of danger and absurdity as his tale goes on.” The Weeknd has always been adamant on not letting his fame change him. He has continuously distanced himself from what he deems “artificial” within Hollywood.
With hit after hit, Tesfaye’s fanbase has almost doubled within the last few months. His Instagram following has grown to 29 million followers, while his YouTube channel has accumulated 23 million subscribers. I have personally been a fan of The Weeknd for a while now and am beyond happy for his success. I personally believe he has much more to give. I feel as he becomes more and more comfortable in his style and self-expression, he will be producing even more amazing and meaningful work. All in all, The Weeknd is an artist to keep an eye out for.