Grammys President Neil Portnow Says Women Need to “Step Up”; Sparks Backlash From Female Artists

– blogged by: @ashleytearra
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The battle for gender equality in the entertainment industry has been a lengthy one to fight, and this past Sunday’s 60th Annual Grammy Awards just proved that we still have so much further to go.
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Out of 86 Grammy awards, only 17 went to women or female-fronted acts, with only one of those being handed out during the televised ceremony–which was the ‘Best New Artist’ award, received by Alessia Cara. Most of the other accolades given out were to men, sparking the hashtag, #GrammysSoMale.
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Subsequently, to the hashtag going viral, Variety caught up with Neil Portnow, President of The Recording Academy. When asked about his views on the recent controversy, he indicates that it’s time for women to “step up” if they want to win more awards.
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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,” he says. “[They need] 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 upon 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.”
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In response to Portnow’s comments, a number of artists spoke out, including singer-songwriter Pink. “Women in music don’t need to ‘step up.’ Women have been stepping up since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside. Women OWNED music this year. They’ve been KILLING IT. And every year before this,” she writes in a handwritten note posted to Twitter.
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Since the backlash, Portnow has issued an apology. In a statement to EW, he says, “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.”
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“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,” Portnow adds.

About MsJennyb

Jen is a Writer and Content Curator for Baller Alert, who writes under the alias “MsJennyb.” In this role, Jen develops and contributes relevant special-themed content to attract readers. Before joining the Entertainment Industry via Baller Alert, Jen spent one year as a Freelance Writer and two years as a Human Resources assistant in a corporate office. Jen has a degree in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University with a concentration in Africana Studies. To contact Jen please email [email protected]

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