The Grammy Awards Not So Feminist

The Editorial Voice of The Miter

The Editorial Voice of The Miter

Editorial Board

In the midst of the Times Up and #MeToo movements, where the media has been largely dominated by empowered women standing up, calling out sexual abuse and gender discrimination within the entertainment industry, events at the Recording Academy Grammy Awards showed just how out of touch with the present the award show is.

A comment made by Recording Academy President Neil Portnow was met with backlash from artists and fans alike, and even calls for his resignation from his position. After all but one of the televised awards went to males, asked about gender discrimination, backstage, Portnow told women to “step up” in an interview.

“It has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls,” said Portnow in an interview with Variety Magazine. “Who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the 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 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 and creating that next generation of artists.”

Soon after these remarks, high profiles such as singers P!nk and Katy Perry, along with fans and others from the industry, casted their disapproval through Twitter.

Two days after the comment made headlines, Portnow backtracked in a statement, claiming that the phrase “step up” does not represent his beliefs or the point he was trying to make. Instead of a true apology, which might admit guilt and worsen his likelihood of keeping his job, Portnow continued to say that he was regretful about his lack of articulacy in conveying his thought.

The lack of female nominees, winners, and even performances might have seemed surprising to many, but actually, this year’s 60th Anniversary Grammy Awards actually followed a trend of male domination within the awards show.

According to a report from USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, out of the 899 nominees from the last six Grammy Awards, only 9% were women.

The lack of female nominees, along with criticism from years past, according to the LA Times, that rap music has been generally denied major awards from the Grammy’s, begs the question: who is voting in the Recording Academy?

The typical white male winner indicates that most of the voters could be just that. Whatever the case, the ratings of the show this year indicate that if the Grammy’s want to live on as a reputable awards show, they probably should consider nominees and winners that are more relevant. Ratings dropped 24% from last year’s CBS broadcast of The Grammy Awards.

The Miter Staff believes that if the Grammy’s want to be known as a veritable opinion truly reflective of the best in music today, the Recording Academy must be more transparent about their membership. Watch the award show if you wish, but remember that music is subjective; the award might be an amazing honor for those receiving it, but for us daily music listeners, it’s nothing more than the industry patting themselves on the back for a job well done.