• VMAs badge

SZA's VMA Performance Was Pulled By Her Manager Because Of MTV's "Disrespectful" Artist Of The Year Snub

SZA was the second most-nominated artist of the night, behind Taylor Swift.

If you watched the VMAs on Tuesday, you probably saw how a lot of nominees didn't show up. SZA was one of those people.

A closeup of sza

The "Snooze" singer — along with Taylor Swift — led nominations this year with six nods, including for Video of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B, Best Art Direction, and more for songs from her critically acclaimed sophomore album SOS.

closeup of sza at a media event wearing a delicate headpiece

But despite all of its success, SZA didn't receive the coveted Artist of the Year nomination.

Her manager, Terrence “Punch” Henderson, told The Hollywood Reporter: “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."

Punch said when he asked MTV why SZA was left off the list, “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].’”

He said at the time, they were on a call about having SZA possibly perform at the show. "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."

closeup of sza

Punch said that with all of SZA's success over the last year, it, frankly, didn't make sense for her not to be nominated. “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," he said. "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."

closeup of sza in a strapless dress

Punch said after talks with MTV failed, he decided to pull SZA out of the show. “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 shared.

sza singing on stage

Fans were split over the decision to pull the performance.

Some said it was a smart move.

@iamstillpunch on SZA not performing at this years VMA’s… damn right👏 this woman really deserve it all. pic.twitter.com/w6GdhdJ6xA

— ✧✶ ★・ˎˊ˗ (@CELESTlALY) September 15, 2023
Twitter: @CELESTlALY

I’ll agree with SZA’s manager on pulling the plug on the VMA performance.. stand up for your artist if & when they get snubbed!

— Celebrilee 🇱🇷 (@soulljahhh) September 15, 2023
Twitter: @soulljahhh

sza’s vma’s performance would’ve been excellent promo for the ep/ deluxe but why even show up if they’re not gonna nominate her? oh that’s not-

— 𝚂𝙾𝚂 𝙹𝙰𝙲𝙾𝙱 (@theyalcoholics) September 15, 2023
Twitter: @theyalcoholics

But yk what, he’s right about the VMAs not giving her the full respect. I still stand by what I said though, a broken clock is right two times a day!

— steven ❀ (@arianaunext) September 15, 2023
Twitter: @arianaunext

Others called it sabotage.

Twitter: @sweetpositionz

Twitter: @davidgviIches

Twitter: @iggy_bittypiggy

Twitter: @sweetpositionz

Twitter: @everlikeme

SZA herself has yet to comment on the situation, but in the interview, Punch noted that she's “a very sweet person, and she’s not for all of the nonsense and the politics and the back and forth and all of that. So, our feelings might be a little different.”

sza waving to fans

What do you think of the pulled performance? Share your thoughts below.

Check out all of our VMAs coverage here.