Sunday's Grammys didn't do much to award women in the #TimesUp era, and Recording Academy President Neil Portnow seems to have only made the situation worse by telling women to "step up" their efforts to get noticed in the music industry.
"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 said backstage during the show.
The statement seems to suggest he thinks there aren't women lining up to work in the music industry. According to a new study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, a total of 90.7 percent of Grammy nominees between the years of 2013 and 2018 were male. The study also found that women nominees for Producer of the Year have been missing from the roster since 2013.
In the broader spectrum, the study found that across 600 of the most popular songs from 2012 to 2017, 22.4 percent of the performers were female, and as for the women behind-the-scenes in the music industry, there is a gender ratio of 49 males to every female.
"I don't have personal experience with the kinds of brick walls that [women] face," Portnow said. "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."
Twitter hashtag "#GrammysSoMale" popped up after only two women were award during the three-and-a-half-hour CBS telecast from Madison Square Garden in New York City. One of those women was Alessia Cara, who took home the trophy for Best New Artist. The second was Rihanna for her feature on Kendrick Lamar's "LOYALTY," which won Best Rap/Sung Performance.
The disappointment in lack of female winners is no surprise, considering the awareness of gender inequality in all workplaces, thanks to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, which were recognized Sunday on the red carpet by Grammys guests carrying or wearing white roses.
Portnow then tried to defend his decision for not inviting Lorde, a two-time Grammy winner whose album was up for Album of the Year, to perform solo like the rest of the men in her category.
"We have a wealth of riches every year, and it's hard to have a balanced show and have everybody involved," he 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."
Isn't it great how the #GRAMMYs claims to be so current & relevant - black outfits.. Time's Up badges.. white roses.. Kesha giving a moving performance with women on stage.. And yet Every single major award last night was won by a male artist? 🤔 Speaks Volumes,#GrammysSoMale
If you are complaining about the #GrammysSoMale hashtag, you really don't get it. It's not that men's music wasn't good enough to be awarded, it's that women are making great music as well yet only 9% of the nominees in the last 5 years have been women.
Women have stood up. Once again they were silenced tonight. Music about overcoming sexual abuse and lack of women's rights got beaten by generic pop fodder, that, ironically, talks about women and their bodies. Women stood up. You didn't listen. #GrammysSoMale #TimesUp https://t.co/XMlX9VirTZ
When #Grammys support #MeToo and #TimesUp and yet they award a song about loving woman's body instead of a song about overcoming sexual harrassment and they give 17 awards to women overall this year #GrammysSoMale
@RecordingAcad silencing women who write music about overcoming sexual abuse and serious flaws in women's rights isn't a lack of talent on their behalf. Women have already stood up. Time for you to shut the hell up and listen. #GrammysSoMale #TimesUp
So you are telling me that Demi Lovato, Kesha, Lorde, Camila Cabello, Lana Del Rey, and Lady Gaga and many more didn't step up their games this year? They released better body works than some of the people that won a grammy last night! #GRAMMYs #GrammysSoMale pic.twitter.com/HSILblu4WC