When pressed on the #GrammysSoMale problem — meaning the lack of performances by artists like Lorde and wins for women in general at this year’s show — Neil Portnow gave a response that made me roll my eyes into next year.
Here’s what was missing at the 2018 Grammy Awards: women. You noticed. I noticed. Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, who spoke to our sister site Variety about the issue, has also noticed — that is, now that the media, Twitter, and everyone who tuned in is hitting him over the head with it.
First, his tone-deaf response to why only one woman (Alessia Cara) received a solo Grammy Award during last night’s broadcast: “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.”
I’m sorry. Kesha, who is still overcoming a very horrible thing that happened to her while simultaneously finally making the music she wants to, is not “stepping up?” Lorde, who has production credits on every single song on Melodrama, is not interested in being “part of the industry on the executive level?” SZA, who for the record was the most nominated woman of the night and walked away with nothing, doesn’t “have the creativity in her heart and soul?” A final question: has this guy been fired yet?
No, he probably won’t be, despite this WTF explanation and historically low ratings for this year’s broadcast. Only 19.81 million people tuned into the event, down 24% from the 2017 ceremony, as Deadline reports. Maybe everyone turned off the TV after P!nk‘s incredible performance. Maybe it was the absence of Adele and Taylor Swift. Maybe it was the excess of older acts like U2 and Sting. Speaking of which, remember when we lost out on a potential “Green Light/Homemade Dynamite” medley from Lorde in favor of a lukewarm “Subway Karaoke” segment? No, AOTY nominee Lorde didn’t perform, and yes, we noticed. Perhaps it really is that simple: viewers wanted to see more women perform and win, and when it became clear that wasn’t going to happen, there was no reason to tune in.
Meanwhile, Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich also gave a crappy answer to the where-was-Lorde inquiry. “I don’t know if it was a mistake. These shows are a matter of choices,” he told Variety. “We have a box and it gets full. She had a great album. There’s no way we can really deal with everybody.”
Finally, I’m also infuriated by Portnow’s insinuation that there aren’t enough women making good music to be recognized at the Grammys. Sylvan Esso, Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga, Kesha and again, Lorde and SZA, all received nominations this year. All of them lost. So are these women, who have apparently been recognized by the Academy as ones “who have the creativity in their hearts and souls,” in fact not “welcome?” Seems like it.
Oh, and Lorde has issued an appropriately badass response. Check it:
HollywoodLifers, where do you stand on this?