Seriously Grammy's, Where Was The Female Representation?

The 60th Grammy Awards were this past Sunday and took place in New York City. Men and women of the music industry all came together to celebrate everyone’s work over the last year or two. Just like at the Golden Globes, the musicians chose to wear or hold white roses in solidarity of women and the Time’s Up campaign. The Golden Globes was centered around this conversation, and all female winners took the time to speak about Times Up, or women rights, during their acceptance speeches.

The Time’s Up Campaign is a movement started by Hollywood after the #MeToo movement and Harvey Weinstein scandal. Time’s Up is to help promote conversation on sexual harassment in the workplace, including Hollywood. Many women also use Time’s Up to voice their opinions on women having equal opportunities in the workforce. Many celebrities donned white roses in solidarity with their colleagues and many different women all over the country who have gone through sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Grammy Awards this year was different than the past years. The Grammy’s this year was one large concert sprinkled with some actual awards. Even though only a handful of awards were actually shown on air, it reflects a lot about the music industry and the recording academy. The only woman to win an award during the televised Grammy’s was Alessia Cara, who won Best New Artist (even though her album was released two years ago).

Yes, Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna also won Best Rap/Sung Performance for their song, “LOYALTY.”, but Rihanna was just featured on the song. Lamar is still the real winner at the end of the day, it is his own song not Rihanna’s. Little Big Town also won for best country group, which has two women in the band. Shakira won for Best Latin Pop Album, but her win was not televised.

Other than that, the only women that received awards are Lisa Loeb (Best Children’s Album), Cécile McLorin Salvant (Best Jazz Album), CeCe Winan (Best Gospel Song and Album), and the Best Spoken Word Album posthumously went to Carrie Fisher. This is just a handful of women compared to the dozens of men who won Grammy’s that night.

Ed Sheeran, who did not attend the award show, won Best Pop Solo Artist. Sheeran was the only male against powerful women like Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Kesha, and Lady GaGa. To me, this is a real world representation of men being chosen and rewarded for their accomplishments over women. Even though Sheeran’s album was very good, so was Lady Gaga’s and Kesha’s. Kesha released the most emotional album of her career, using her music as a way to share her horrible sexual harassment with her prior record company. Lady Gaga’s album was beautifully planned out artistically and made a shift in pop music. All the women in this category had beautiful albums, but their work was forgotten compared to a man’s. All of these women arrived to the Grammy’s hoping to win and prove women can do anything, but lost to a man that did not even bother to show up.

Lorde was the only female in the category Album of the Year, but was the only artist in this category not asked to perform at the Grammy’s. Usually, every artist in this category performs. Not this year, I guess. Women who did perform, though, were Little Big Town, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Cardi B, Maren Morris, Patti Lupone, and Alessia Cara.

Obviously, men and women around the country were very angry about the lack of women representation during the awards show. Record Academy and Grammy’s President Neil Portnow, took it upon himself to make things worse instead of better. Portnow commented on the lack of female winners, and shared his opinion on why they did not win:

“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 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,” Portnow stated.

To summarize, Portnow thinks women need to “step up” if they want to win and they would be welcoming to that. Did none of these women step up in the last year? Kesha, SZA, Lady Gaga released one of the most emotional albums of their careers and received no credit other than a nomination. These women really put their emotions out there and made themselves the most vulnerable than they ever been, but no Grammy to applaud their work. Bruno Mars, although a great musician and performer, did not release an album with the same amount of depth or emotion and yet won the most awards.

It’s weird how one week, Oprah is telling young women that they can achieve anything and to persevere, and the next week women are not winning accomplishments they well deserved. Oprah caught almost every woman’s attention during this speech, but it still went over men’s heads. During an awards season that has seemed to be embracing and empowering women and their work, they are still not being recognized for their achievements. I wish I could say this is surprising, but it’s not.