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Grammys president Neil Portnow defends lack of female winners: The onus is on them to “step up”

on January 29, 2018, 9:22am

The lack of female winners at last night’s Grammy Awards wasn’t lost on anyone. In the four major categories, only Alessia Cara claimed victory for Best New Artist. And among genre-specific categories such as Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album, where a majority of the nominees were women, a man (Ed Sheeran) ended up winning. And that’s without mentioning the utter disrespect shown to Lorde; not only did she walk away without a single Grammy, but she was the only Best Album nominee to not be offered a solo performance slot. The telecast did, however, have time for three (!) on-camera appearances for Sting, who wasn’t even nominated for a Grammy.

In a post-show interview, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow was asked to address the lack of female representation among the winners. His answer? The onus is on them to “step up.”

“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,” Portnow was quoted as saying. “[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 — 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.”

Maybe next year the Grammys should look to add a new category for Most Tone-Deaf Spoken-Word Statement from the Male Head of an Increasingly Irrelevant Awards Ceremony.