Relive the timeline of The Weeknd’s facial changes to promote his album
Abel Tesfaye is better known as the popular singer The Weeknd. To promote The Weeknd album After Hours, he created a shocking persona.
The album was released in March 2020. Leading up to its release, he created a character whose face changes often. Over the past year, he can be seen with different versions of a bruised & bloody face. The facial changes & injuries aren’t real, but has nonetheless kept fans wondering what comes next for the singer.
The Weeknd is scheduled to perform at the Super Bowl 2021 halftime show, and his shocking character has added to the hype of his appearance for the game.
Why the persona for The Weeknd album?
The Weeknd talked about his persona in an interview with CR Fashion Book in March 2020. “There’s also a very committed vision and character being portrayed, and I get to explore a different side of me that my fans have never seen”, he said. He added that the fourth The Weeknd album was an “introduction to the next chapter of my life”.
In a more recent interview with Variety, he continued to talk about the persona. “The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated”, said The Weeknd. “It’s all a progression and we watch The Character’s storyline hit heightened levels of danger and absurdity as his tale goes on.”
How it started: December 2019 & January 2020
The album-promoting persona made a debut in December 2019 in the music video for the song “Heartless”. In that video, The Weeknd’s character is partying in Las Vegas. His face was normal in that video, but changed in part two to the story in the music video for “Blinding Lights” which came out in January 2020.
In the “Blinding Lights” music video, the character takes a fall and gets a bloody face. The bloody face look from the video made a comeback on Jimmy Kimmel Live! later that month.
However, January 2020 was only the beginning for the bloody-faced character.
Short film: March 2020
In early March 2020, The Weeknd released a five-minute short film to accompany the After Hours album. The singer told Variety that “we have this guy go through a complete breakdown” in the short film. He describes the breakdown as what “looks like a possession”.
He said the story from his videos all take place in one night and that the audience can interpret what it all means.
The Weeknd also performed his song “Scared To Live” on Saturday Night Live in March 2020 to promote his album. In that performance, The Weeknd’s face had fake blood and he also had a bandage on his nose.
“Until I Bleed Out” video: April 2020
The Weeknd released another music video in April 2020 with a song from the album. In the “Until I Bleed Out” music video, the character still has the bloody face. However, what made this video different was the added bruises.
The bruises were just makeup, of course, but still added to the shock factor the character brings.
Music Awards: August & November 2020
The Weeknd brought the character to life during various performances in 2020, including two different music awards ceremonies. At the MTV Video Music Awards in August, he had a bloody face while he performed “Blinding Lights”.
He added more to the cuts during his performance at the American Music Awards in November. During this performance, he had bandages & bruises as well.
The week after the AMAs, The Weeknd posted live performances of other songs from his album. In all the videos, he had the same bloody face.
“Save Your Tears” music video: January 2021
The Weeknd didn’t end his persona in 2020. He did change it a bit, though. In his January “Save Your Tears” music video, it looked like he had plastic surgery done on his face.
He looked like he had cheek implants, plump lips, and a smaller nose. Just like the blood & bruises, the plastic surgery was fake. However, it was a change of pace from what he had previously done with his face.
Now, fans wonder what The Weeknd will look like during his Super Bowl performance.