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Grammys so male?
That’s the latest hashtag brewing after Sunday’s Grammy Awards telecast, where only one of the nine main awards was won by a woman.
That would be 21 year old Alessia Cara, who took home best new artist, and spent her time on the red carpet and backstage speaking out in support of the Time’s Up movement, which was founded by Hollywood celebrities and executives earlier this month to combat sexual harassment and assault.
Many artists Cara included came to the Grammys wearing white roses, in solidarity with Time’s Up and sexual misconduct victims. But that spirit of female empowerment wasn’t reflected in this year’s winners, nor in remarks made by Recording Academy president Neil Portnow, who suggested that if women wish to collect more prizes moving forward, they need to double down on their efforts.
“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,” Portnow told journalists backstage after the show.
“I don’t have personal experience with the challenges of brick walls that (women) face,” Portnow continued. “But I think it’s really a combination of us in the industry making a welcome mat very obvious: creating mentorships, creating opportunities, not only for women, but for all people. And moving forward, creating that next generation of artists who feel like they can do anything and say anything.”
Portnow similarly dodged a journalist’s question about Lorde, a two time Grammy winner whose Melodrama was up for album of the year, but lost to Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic. Variety reported that Lorde was the only artist in the male dominated album of the year category to not be invited to perform solo, which the Grammys chief neither confirmed nor denied.
“We have a wealth of riches every year, and it’s hard to have a balanced show and have everybody involved,” Portnow said. “We can’t have a performance from every nominee we have over 80 categories so we have to realize that we have to create something that has balance.”
Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich was asked more bluntly by another journalist whether it was “a mistake” to not invite Lorde to perform.
“I don’t know if it was a mistake,” Ehrlich said. “These shows are always a matter of choices, and we know we have a box and the box gets full. She had a great album, but there’s no way we can really deal with everybody. Overall, we did the best we can to make sure it’s representative of our show.”.