Grammys President Responds to Backlash After Telling Women to “Step Up”
You didn’t need a calculator to notice that men dominated the 2018 Grammys. During the show, #GrammysSoMale began to trend on Twitter, and only one out of nine major awards went to a female artist, Alessia Cara. Other than Cara, only Rihanna took to stage to accept an award. And that was in the best rap song category for Kendrick Lamar’s song “Loyalty,” which featured her.
Now, Neil Portnow, the president of the Recording Academy, is responding to backlash that ensued after he told female artists to “step up.”
“Sunday night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year’s Grammy Awards. 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,” Portnow said in a statement to People on Tuesday.
“Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced. We must actively work to eliminate these barriers and encourage women to live their dreams and express their passion and creativity through music. We must welcome, mentor, and empower them. Our community will be much richer for it,” he added.
“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,” he concluded.
Celebrities like Pink and Katy Perry were not happy with his original remarks.
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“It has to begin with 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,” he said on Sunday. “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.”
Pink took to Twitter to clap back, posting a handwritten note with her badass point of view.
“Women in music don’t need to ‘step up’—women have been stepping since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside,” Pink wrote. “Women owned music this year. They’ve been killing it. And every year before this.”
She added, “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.”
Stars like Katy Perry, Halsey, and Charli XCX also shared their thoughts in response to his original statement.
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We’ll see how this one goes down.