Back in August, The Weeknd debuted a new look when he took the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards: a bloodied face. Since then, he's continued to appear at public events with a black eye, what appeared to be a bloody nose, and other signs of trauma. Tonight, however, he (real name Abel Makkonen Tesfaye) performed at the 2020 American Music Awards with full facial bandages. He didn't take off the elaborate dressings when he performed, either, taking the stage with the bandages for "Save Your Tears" and "In Your Eyes" with Kenny G.
He wasn't injured, however. Instead, he's continuing the fictional narrative from his album, After Hours, and the short films he released for the tracks "Blinding Lights," "After Hours," and "Too Late."
He explained to Esquire that his After Hours song "Blinding Lights" is about a specific dangerous, situation: "How you want to see someone at night, and you’re intoxicated, and you’re driving to this person and you're just blinded by streetlights. But nothing could stop you from trying to go see that person, because you’re so lonely. I don't want to ever promote drunk driving, but that’s what the dark undertone is."
He sported similar makeup for his March Saturday Night Live performance. In his music video for "Too Late," which was released last month, two fans wear bandages very similar to his look at tonight's AMAs.
In his acceptance speech tonight (he won Favorite Album – Soul/R&B, Favorite Song – Soul/R&B, and Favorite Male Artist – Soul/R&B), Tesfaye dedicated his award to Prince.
"Last time I received this award, it was given to me by the late great Prince," he said. "And you know, he's the reason I get to constantly challenge the genre of R&B, and I'd like to dedicate this award to him. Thank you."
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