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Female musicians are firing back at the Grammy president after he told them to 'step up' to win

Well this turned into a massive shitshow.

SUNDAY NIGHT’S GRAMMYs weren’t very successful for females, and even less so when the president of the Recording Academy said they didn’t ‘step up’.

Only one woman won a major Grammy. Alessia Cara won Best New Artist, but was the only woman to win during the live broadcast.

PastedImage-45136 Source: Charles Sykes, PA Images

Sixteen more Grammys given out to women during the pre-broadcast, but it was still a tiny number when you consider the 86 accolades given.

It simply wasn’t good enough

When you consider the amount of talented woman who have been killing it in the music industry this year, why the snub?

There was more controversy when Lorde didn’t perform, despite being one of the Album of the Year nominees. All other male nominees performed. When asked about the decision, executive producer Ken Ehrlich said:

These shows are always a matter of choices, and we know we have a box and the box gets full and filled up.

Oh, OK then.

Artists themselves called out the drastic numbers

Janelle Monáe outlined that the industry itself has a long way to go.


While Sheryl Crow argued for separate categories so we could see equal representation.


However, Neil Portnow, the president of the Recording Academy, wasn’t having a bit of the criticism.

PastedImage-56278 Source: PA Images

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, he said that if women want to win awards, they need to ‘step up’. His direct quote:

I think it has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and their souls who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, who want to be producers, who want to be part of the industry on an executive level to step up.
Because I think they would be welcome, I don’t have personal experience of those kinds of brick walls that you face, but I think it’s really a combination, it’s us as an industry making the welcome mat very obvious, creating mentorships, creating opportunities not only for women but for all people who want to be creative and really paying it forward and creating that next generation of artists who feel like they can do anything and say anything.
There’s so many opportunities today. So if someone’s passionate about it, doesn’t matter what your gender, genre, geography.

You can imagine how these words might be slightly insulting to female artists who have put their art out there with all the work and passion of their male counterparts, only to miss out on performance and wins due to an executive’s decision.

Take Pink

PastedImage-5312 Source: PictureGroup, PA Images

Pink performed at the show on Sunday night in Madison Square Garden, and wrote a letter to Neil after his comments, which she later posted to Twitter

It reads:

Women in music don’t need to ‘step up’. Women have been stepping since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside, woman OWNED music this year. They’ve been KILLING IT. And every year before this.
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.

Katy Perry was here for it



Other artists followed


Neil is not a popular man right now


Women in music is not a new concept. They’ve been stepping up every year. See them and support them.

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