The Grammy’s are one of the biggest nights in the music industry, and this year they are facing a lot of backlash for the lack of women who received awards and recognition. At the male-dominated ceremonies, only one female musician, best new artist Alessia Cara, won a Grammy in a major category. Viewers were left feeling like women were being snubbed the entire night.
I was disappointed to learn that Lorde, the only female album of the year nominee, was not offered the opportunity to perform a solo at the show. Sources claim she was offered a chance to perform alongside other artists, potentially in a tribute to another artist. The other nominees in the category, all male, were given the opportunity to perform solo and showcase work from their own acclaimed albums. What upsets me and other viewers the most about this is that, as a fellow nominee for this category, Lorde should have been shown the same respect as Bruno Mars, Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, and JAY-Z (the last of which declined his offer to perform). If there was time for the men to perform, they should have found the time for Lorde to perform as well. When asked about this, Grammy’s Producer Ken Erhlich dismissed this issue, saying “These shows are a matter of choices.”
In addition to that spectacle, Lady Gaga, Kesha, P!nk, and Kelly Clarkson were all nominated for Best Pop Performances with singles that were emotional, powerful, raw and empowering; however, they all lost out to the lone male nominee Ed Sheeran, with his single “Shape of You”. As catchy as this song is, many people (myself included) feel it was not worthy of this award, especially not when you consider the songs it was up against, and not in the context of the entire night, where only one major Grammy was awarded to a woman.
Unfortunately, the Grammy’s president, Neil Portnow, also doesn’t see much of an issue with the lack of recognition being given to women. In fact, his thoughts on the matter are that “It has to begin with… women,” and “[they have] to step up…” Um, excuse me? Are you really trying to tell us that you don’t think women worked hard enough this past year?
Let’s take a minute and look at the four female nominees for Best Pop Performance. Lady Gaga took the story of her aunt’s death in 1974 from Lupus and used it as inspiration for her album’s purpose; Joanne was a transformative venture for her. Kesha made an epic comeback from her 5 year legal battle with Dr. Luke, using the trauma from that experience to push out a number of empowering anthems in Rainbow. P!nk has always been proud of being a strong independent woman and continues to flaunt this pride with her album Beautiful Trauma. Last, but certainly not least, Kelly Clarkson’s album, Meaning of Life, draws inspiration from the empowering female artists Clarkson admired growing up; the lead single, Love So Soft, gave her a record-breaking fourth nomination in this specific category. All these women accomplished so much in the past year and throughout their entire careers, so to suggest that they, along with other women in the industry, haven’t already worked hard enough is ridiculous.
Ken Erhlich and Neil Portnow’s tone-death remarks, during a time where the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements are still fresh in our minds, are just the straw on the camels back for what ended up being an extremely disappointing Grammy’s. Hopefully, organizational change can be made on their end, and they can step up to see that women are just as worthy of awards and recognition as their male counterpoints are.