Female musicians are displeased with 60th Annual Grammy Award winners.
It became suspiciously clear that something wasn’t quite right when New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde didn’t get her chance to shine on-stage solo on Grammy’s night. But, what makes the situation even more unsettling is how all the males in her category did.
This automatically raised the question, “are the Grammy’s really sexist?” It seemed uncertain. However, things took a turn for the worst that had women outraged. Despite a colossal support for the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements against sexual misconduct among females, symbolized by a single white rose, the spotlight still swayed more towards the males.
A number of powerful breathtaking performances by some of the top female artists of the generation echoed the room. This included Kesha, who performed an emotional rendition of her single “Praying” backed up by Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Andra Day, Bebe Rexha, and Julia Michaels creating an all-female-choir. Followed by a captivating performance by P!nk who had everybody in the room tuned-in as she sang “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken.”
Ed Sheeran, for example, took home the title of best pop solo performance for “Shape of You” overthrowing Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga, Kesha, and Pink beneath him. Plus he wasn’t even present for the spectacle. So, the next question that arises is why did females fail to score any of the “top” wins? And when did the Grammy’s became an all-boys club anyway?
When singer Alessia Cara became the only woman to win for “Best New Artist” that was the last straw. Spectators took to social media to express their frustration with the unfair treatment. The hashtag #GrammysSoMale was created, causing a massive online crusade against the Recording Academy responsible for the outcome.
In response to the now trending campaign, Neil Portnow, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) spoke up. However, his comment got him stuck in major backlash amid female musicians.
“Women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level … [They need] to step up, because I think they would be welcome,” Portnow stated. “I don’t have personal experience of those kinds of brick walls that you face but I think it’s upon us – us as an industry – to make the welcome mat very obvious, breeding opportunities for all people who want to be creative and paying it forward and creating that next generation of artists.”
Needless to say, things didn’t set to well with anybody who isn’t male. The statement alone confirmed what many suspected all along. Various artists including Sheryl Crow, Katy Perry, Charli XCX, Iggy Azalea, and even Grammy performer P!nk, have since spoken up against Portnow’s insensitive remark.
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) January 29, 2018
“Women in music don’t need to ‘step up,'” P!nk retaliated in a hand-written note which she posted on Twitter. “Women have been stepping up since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside… When we celebrate and honor the talent and accomplishments of women, and how much women step up every year, against all odds, we show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal, and what it looks like to be fair.”
— P!nk (@Pink) January 29, 2018
Neil Portnow really has me heated with his "women need to step up" Grammy-Boys-Club bullshit statement.
— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) January 30, 2018
As more heated messages flooded into Portnow’s inbox, he issued a public apology to try and help clear the air.
“Regrettably, I used two words, ‘step up,’ that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make,” he said. “Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced… I regret that I wasn’t as articulate as I should have been in conveying this thought. I remain committed to doing everything I can to make our music community a better, safer, and more representative place for everyone.”
For years, female artists have dominated the stage, so it’s absurd for Portnow to say otherwise. Unfortunately, statistics show that there’s a huge gender imbalance in the music industry to date. A new study created by USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative breaks down the details showing that 9 out of 10 Grammy Award nominees between 2013 and 2018 are men. According to the research, there is a total of 90.7 percent male nominees in that span of time, while 9.3 percent were women.
However dubious the facts may seem, changes must be met in order for the industry to take a different turn. Perhaps, the Recording Academy will even take note of this as a lesson learned for next year.
Female artists respond to Portnow’s “Step Up” comment:
I wish the #Grammys would return to female/male categories. Who will young girls be inspired by to pick up a guitar and rock when most every category is filled with men? I'm not sure it is about women needing to “step up”, (as said by the male in charge). #GrammysSoMale https://t.co/v1rvbT3pCC
— Sheryl Crow (@SherylCrow) January 29, 2018
👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 Another powerful woman, leading by example. We ALL have a responsibility to call out the absurd lack of equality everywhere we see it. I'm proud of ALL the women making incredible art in the face of continual resistance. ✊🏻
P.s VH1 Divas Live. https://t.co/RDmB7zRfId
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) January 30, 2018
ugh bout 2 step up on 2 ur face.. women are making AMAZING music right now wtf is this dude talking about ????? https://t.co/EkijTA33QW
— CHARLI XCX (@charli_xcx) January 29, 2018
It is with tremendous respect and absolutely no judgement of each nominee’s well-deserved accomplishments that we take this moment to address the disappointing number of women nominated in many of the various categories.
— Tegan and Sara (@teganandsara) January 30, 2018
If you want women to "step up" then the industry has to "open more doors" #GrammySoMale
— Lexi Noel (@TheLexiNoel) January 29, 2018
The absolute cluelessness and staggering white male privilege in the statement 'women need to step up' when it's becoming daily more evident (blatant, in fact) the kind of 'brick walls' women face in EVERY industry is so tone deaf and ignorant, I can't stop SMH. #GrammySoMale
— Nancy Forde (@nancyfordephoto) January 30, 2018