Scanty female nominations at Grammy questions Portnow's 'step-up' comment
Time’s Up and #MeToo movement picked up wind at the Golden Globes with many being vocal about their support. While it was echoed throughout the industry by a show of clothed unity in black, the movement at the Grammy awards laid bare the sycophancy of it all. Celebrities may have walked the red carpet holding white roses but that did not mean emulation of support for women actually at the awards.
The Recording Academy President, Neil Portnow was criticized for the poor show of women on stage with only two female winners emerging. At the end of the show, he had a curt reply to give to all female musicians. “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,” Portnow said backstage after the show.
His words ‘step-up’ were not taken easily as several musicians felt the brunt of his words. Many pointed to the fact that Lorde despite being the only nominee in the album of the year, did not get to perform.
Following the backlash, Portnow was quick to withdraw his words, “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 richer for it,” he said.
Answering Lorde’s absence, he said, “We have a wealth of riches every year and it’s hard to have a balanced show and have everybody involved. Every year’s different. We can’t have a performance from every nominee. We have over 80 categories. And so we have to realize that we’ve got to create something that has balance and so on and so forth, and what you saw was our best judgment on how to do that.”
Lorde shut it down in the most Lorde way possible.