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SZA‘s manager, Terrence “Punch” Henderson, revealed he pulled her MTV VMAs performance because they snubbed her for Artist of the Year nominations, but some fans are calling it “sabotage.”

terrence "punch" henderson x sza

Source: Ella Hovsepian/Kevin Winter / Getty

It’s been an epic year for the “Kill Bill” singer. In 2023, SZA topped the success of her debut album CTRL with S.O.SDespite her record-breaking success and critically acclaimed hits, the VMAs didn’t nominate SZA for Artist of the Year. Her manager says he refused to let her perform at the awards show because the snub was “disrespectful.”

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,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

He believes she deserved recognition among this year’s other nominees, Beyoncé, Shakira, Nicki Minaj, Karol G, Doja Cat, and Taylor Swift. Although Swifties probably still had her fan-voted awards sweep in the bag regardless, Punch demanded they put some respect on her name. And then, he demanded answers.

Punch reached out to the network for answers, 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 continued.

The numbers don’t lie. After all, S.O.S. spent 10 weeks at #1 on Billboard’s 200 albums. It broke the record for the longest time at the top of Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop albums this century. SZA’s triple platinum album has its fifth top 10 hit with “Snooze” currently at # 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,” Punch explained.

See where SZA stands on pulling out of the MTV VMAs and fans’ reactions after the flip.

President Punch Says He “Influenced” SZA Pulling Out Of VMAs, But She “Might Feel Differently”

Lil Baby Performs At Arena

Source: Prince Williams / Getty

Without answers from MTV adding up as quickly as SZA’s plaques, the Top Dawg Entertainment co-president pulled out of the show. The singer also did not attend the show to accept her Best R&B award for “Shirt.”

“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 continued.

Although the controversial call centers on SZA, Punch says the singer didn’t feel as strongly about it. He’s willing to take the heat because SZA is “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.”

“But ultimately. I felt it was disrespectful and I was very stern on that and influencing that. If there’s any issues or backlash and all of that, I’m taking all of that.”

Some fans cheered on the move in defense of SZA supremacy. Meanwhile, others called it another “fumble” in a long line of bad management. In 2020, they put Punch on blast for delaying her music. The next year, SZA did the same when “Good Days” fell off the Hot 100 after 20 weeks. “I really hate my label. So much,” she wrote.

SZA described Punch as more than her manager, comparing him to her stage dad. That would explain why he seems to fight for SZA as much as he reportedly fights with SZA. While some fans feel Punch burned bridges for their fave with MTV, they’re clearly making magic together.

Check out some more fan reactions below.




What do you think about Punch pulling SZA’s MTV VMA’s performance over an Artist of the Year nomination snub?

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