Bret Snider March’21

The Weeknd Won The Game

By Bret Snider

I don’t watch every football game, but I always watch the Superbowl. This year’s contest pitted the Kansas City Chiefs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So many people watch the game because it makes for great spectacle. Betting money favoured the Chiefs.

For me and many others, halftime is when you top up your refreshments and refill bowls of snacks. Some of the previous halftime shows have been great. This year did not disappoint, as it featured an artist named “The Weeknd,” who’s real name is Abel Tesfaye.

I was familiar with some of his music from the radio, often the CBC. I also recognized him from his multiple appearances on Saturday Night Live. I was intrigued with his last appearance as he had a bandage on his nose and looked like he had just lost a fight.

The Weeknd spent his early years growing up in Scarborough and attended Birchmount Collegiate. He chose the name because he decided to drop out of school and leave home on a weekend when he was seventeen. I know two others who also attended Birchmount, local music producer Cameron Watt and my nephew Keegan Carodonna, and asked them what they thought of him.

Keegan was attending Birchmount at the same time, so I asked his impression. His told me he didn’t really stand out in high school. “One thing I remember is that every time you saw him in the hallway, he was wearing a set of headphones.”

Prior to learning about The Weeknd, when I thought of music artists from Scarborough The Barenaked Ladies always came to mind. I did some research on famous artists who started in Scarborough and the list is a lot bigger than this article permits.

I reached out to Cameron for his opinion about The Weeknd, why he spells his name that way, and why on the two occasions I remember seeing him perform bandages were involved. Cameron informed me that there is already another Canadian group called “Weekend”. The bandages were part of a promotion for one of his new songs. During the halftime show, his many dancers were also wearing bandage masks to characterize his disdain for artists who depend so heavily on cosmetic surgery.

Cameron also talked about his many awards from all over the world. “He’s won over a hundred of them in multiple categories – Pop. R&B, Soul, Rock and Hip Hop. He’s got a huge range, is an amazing singer, a prolific composer and he’s only thirty-one.”

“Multi-platinum selling singer, songwriter and record producer Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, has donated $500,000 CAD to Scarborough Health Network (SHN) in support of COVID-19 relief efforts through sales of his popular line of XO face masks. The donation is a leading gift to the health network’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which now totals more than $2.7 million.”

I was raised in Scarborough and felt it was important to give back to the community that raised me during the hard times of this pandemic,” said Tesfaye… (SHN, June 29,2020)

Postscript – The game became incredibly lopsided, the Buccaneers won 31-9 (so much for the odds-on-favourite), but the halftime show was fantastic.