Grammys chief clarifies comments about women
All but one of the biggest Grammy awards went to men, and artists like Pink and Halsey are not OK with the response from the president of the Recording Academy. USA TODAY
Recording Academy President Neil Portnow on Tuesday clarified comments he made backstage at the Grammys Sunday regarding women and music.
"Last night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year's Grammy Awards. Regrettably, I used two words, “step up,” that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make," he said in a statement.
The statement continued: "Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced. We must actively work to eliminate these barriers and encourage women to live their dreams and express their passion and creativity through music. We must welcome, mentor, and empower them. Our community will be richer for it. I regret that I wasn't as articulate as I should have been in conveying this thought. I remain committed to doing everything I can to make our music community a better, safer, and more representative place for everyone."
Dozens of artists 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 Portnow, who suggested that if women wish to collect more golden gramophones 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.
Along with an online petition calling for Portnow to step down, Pink, who performed at Sunday night's awards, blasted the Grammys chief in a strongly-worded statement on Twitter. "Women in music don't need to 'Step Up,'" Pink wrote on Monday in a handwritten message. "Women have been stepping since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside."
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