Alessia Cara’s 2018 Grammy win for Best New Artist was notable for a few reasons. Not only was it the only award given to a woman on the televised part of a show that otherwise favored men, but it was also her first Grammy overall (and the first ever for a Canadian-born artist in that category). But not everybody was happy: Haters took to Twitter to criticize the award’s criteria and Cara herself, prompting the singer to respond on Instagram.

“To address the apparent backlash regarding winning something I had no control over: I didn’t log onto Grammys.com and submit myself. That’s not how it works,” she wrote in a lengthy Instagram caption on a photo of her with a room full of balloons. “I didn’t ask to be submitted either because there are other artists that deserve the acknowledgment.” (Cara actually used her acceptance speech to shout-out underrepresented artists who deserve a shot.)

The backlash to her win was primarily in regards to the fact that her debut album, Know-It-All, was released back in 2015, while the other nominees — fan favorites Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, Julia Michaels, and SZA — all released music in 2017. Cara did, however, have a major breakout hit with Zedd, the song “Stay,” in 2017, and she has not previously earned any Grammy nominations, which made her eligible for the Best New Artist award. (The Grammys explain their admittedly “complicated set of rules” for the category here.)

“I’m aware that my music wasn’t released yesterday. I’m aware that, yes, my music has become fairly popular in the last year,” Cara continued. “But I’m trying very hard to use the platform I’ve been given to talk about these things and bring light to issues that aren’t fair, all while trying to make the most of the weird, amazing success I’ve been lucky enough to have.”

View this post on Instagram

to address the apparent backlash regarding winning something I had no control over: I didn’t log onto grammy.com and submit myself. that’s not how it works. I didn’t ask to be submitted either because there are other artists that deserve the acknowledgment. but I was nominated and won and I am not going to be upset about something I’ve wanted since I was a kid, not to mention have worked really hard for. I meant everything I said about everyone deserving the same shot. there is a big issue in the industry that perpetuates the idea that an artist’s talent and hard work should take a back seat to popularity and numbers. and I’m aware that my music wasn’t released yesterday, I’m aware that, yes, my music has become fairly popular in the last year. but I’m trying very hard to use the platform I’ve been given to talk about these things and bring light to issues that aren’t fair, all while trying to make the most of the weird, amazing success I’ve been lucky enough to have. I will not let everything I’ve worked for be diminished by people taking offence to my accomplishments and feeling the need to tell me how much I suck. here’s something fun! I’ve been thinking I suck since I was old enough to know what sucking meant. I’ve beat u to it. And that’s why this means a lot to me. despite my 183625 insecurities, I’ve been shown that what I’ve created is worth something and that people actually give a shit. all of the years feeling like I wasn’t good at anything or that I was naive for dreaming about something improbable have paid off in a way that I have yet to process. I know it sounds cheesy and dumb but it’s the honest truth. thanks to everyone who’s shown me kindness and support along the way. I’ll stop talking now.

A post shared by ALESSIA CARA (@alessiasmusic) on

That’s when Cara got pointed with the haters and shut down their negativity. “I will not let everything I’ve worked for be diminished by people taking offense to my accomplishments and feeling the need to tell me how much I suck,” the 21-year-old wrote. “Here’s something fun! I’ve been thinking I suck since I was old enough to know what sucking meant. I’ve beat u to it. And that’s why this means a lot to me.”

She continued: “Despite my 183625 insecurities, I’ve been shown that what I’ve created is worth something and that people actually give a sh*t. All of the years feeling like I wasn’t good at anything or that I was naive for dreaming about something improbable have paid off in a way that I have yet to process. I know it sounds cheesy and dumb but it’s the honest truth.”

She concluded her note with a thank you to her supporters — of which, despite the criticism, there remain many.

What do you think of the backlash to Alessia Cara’s win? Let us know @BritandCo.

(photo via Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for NARAS)