Top Dog Entertainment co-President Terrence “Punch” Henderson is going to bat for SZA after feeling like her contributions to music were overlooked in a major way at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards.
The show went off without a hitch on Tuesday (Sept. 12) with performances from Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, Nicki Minaj, Shakira, and Sean “Diddy” Combs. But missing from the lineup was the “Snooze” singer. SZA racked up six nominations — winning Best R&B for “Shirt” — and was slated to hit the stage for a performance, but she was a no-show altogether.
Punch, who also serves as her manager, revealed that he nixed her appearance from the awards show because he felt the artist was disrespected after being snubbed a nomination for Artist of the Year. Beyoncé, Shakira, Nicki Minaj, Karol G, Doja Cat, and Taylor Swift were each nominated in the coveted category.
“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,” he explained to The Hollywood Reporter on Friday (Sept. 15). “It just really didn’t make any sense to me. It’s disrespectful.” Despite expressing his disappointment to the VMA team, Punch said matters worsened when the team suggested they have another private conversation about the snub.
The label executive claimed, however, that efforts to further discuss the issue were unsuccessful. “They didn’t want to discuss Artist of the Year, which to me was really a slap in the face,” he added. “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.”
SZA’s sophomore album, SOS, was released in December 2022 and has been wildly successful. It is already three times platinum, and it made history with its 10-week run at the top of the Billboard 200 Albums chart and has five songs that also dominated the top of the music charts. Earlier this year, she also pulled off a triumph when she hit the road for her first arena tour, which raked in millions.
As previously reported by REVOLT, she is gearing up for the release of a deluxe version of SOS. The project is like a “whole notha album” and will feature seven to 10 new tracks. It’s due out later this fall.