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Grammys president walks back on ‘step up’ comment

Recording Academy President Neil Portnow says his comments following the 60th annual Grammy Awards were taken out of context after he was criticized for saying women in the music industry need to ‘step up’.

Portnow, in a statement Tuesday, says he regrettably used the phrase ‘step up’ and that they were taken out of context and neither convey his beliefs nor the point he was trying to make.

The show ended Sunday with only two female winners onstage. Lorde, the only woman nominated for album of the year, didn’t perform.

‘Sunday 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.

He 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.’

 

 Recording Academy President Neil Portnow (pictured the night of the Grammys with winner Bruno Mars) has walked back on his comment that women in the music industry should ‘step up’

Pink, Katy Perry and Charli XCX were among the multiple artists who criticized his comments, which came after he was asked about the lack of female winners and nominees at this year's Grammys

Pink, Katy Perry and Charli XCX were among the multiple artists who criticized his comments, which came after he was asked about the lack of female winners and nominees at this year’s Grammys

Business manager to Britney Spears and Tri Star Sports & Entertainment Group Lou Taylor said on Instagram: 'I know a good woman who can "step up" and help get you out of debt and help you pull your head out of your a**'

Business manager to Britney Spears and Tri Star Sports & Entertainment Group Lou Taylor said on Instagram: ‘I know a good woman who can “step up” and help get you out of debt and help you pull your head out of your a**’

His initial comments to Variety about the lack of female winners and nominees after Sunday’s awards show in New York angered female musicians who felt his statements put the responsibility on women.

He said: ‘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 added: ‘[They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome.’

The male-dominated Grammy Awards prompted the hashtag #GrammysSoMale.

Pink, who performed on the Grammys, was nominated with three other women in the best pop solo performance category but lost to Ed Sheeran. 

She wrote on Twitter on Monday that ‘Women in music don’t need to step up – Women have been stepping since the beginning of time’.

Katy Perry also chimed in on Twitter to say: ‘We ALL have a responsibility to call out the absurd lack of equality everywhere we see it. I’m proud of ALL the women making incredible art in the face of continual resistance.’

Charli XCX commented: ‘ugh bout 2 step up on 2 ur face.. women are making AMAZING music right now wtf is this dude talking about ?????’

The male-dominated Grammy Awards prompted the hashtag #GrammysSoMale

The male-dominated Grammy Awards prompted the hashtag #GrammysSoMale

Alessia Cara won the award for Best New Artist and was one of only two female performers to win

Alessia Cara won the award for Best New Artist and was one of only two female performers to win

Business manager to Britney Spears and Tri Star Sports & Entertainment Group Lou Taylor said on Instagram: ‘I know a good woman who can “step up” and help get you out of debt and help you pull your head out of your a**.’

Taylor later criticized his statement following the ouctry. 

‘What?’ she wrote on Instagram in response to Portnow’s comment that ‘we must welcome, mentor and empower [women]’.

‘I think Neil has lost touch with reality,’ she continued. ‘Who is going to welcome us? Who is going to mentor us? Who is going to empower us? What?’

She concluded: ‘Who should be the next Academy President?’ 

Meanwhile, Portnow’s claim that the Academy would ‘welcome’ women was made on the same night he reportedly refused to let Best Album nominee Lorde perform, citing a lack of time.  

Lorde responded to that slight on Twitter by writing: ‘IF YOU’RE DEBATING WHETHER OR NOT I CAN MURDER A STAGE… COME SEE IT FOR URSELF.’ She also included an emoji of a smiling angel.

The omission of Julia Michaels is perhaps worse, with the singer being relegated to singing backup for Ke$ha despite being a nominee for Best Song.

And despite there being no room or time for Michaels and Lorde, Portnow and his producers did find a way to give Sting a 10-minute showcase during the ceremony, despite the fact that he has not been nominated for an award since 2006.

Lorde

Sting

 Lorde, despite being nominated for Album of the Year, was not given a solo performance spot. The other nominees were reportedly offered solos. Sting was offered a spot despite not receiving a nomination since 2006

 

 

Neil Portnow full statement about controversial ‘step up’ comment

Sunday 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.

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.

First reported by Variety

Sam Smith was also given a showcase near the top of the program despite not receiving a single major nomination this year. The same goes for Elton John and Miley Cyrus.

Portnow addressed this in another tonedeaf response, saying: ‘We have a wealth of riches every year, and it’s hard to have a balanced show and have everybody involved.’ 

It was also Portnow who decided to drop the one category that specifically honored women back in 2012, when the Academy eliminated the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance category.

That decision did not stop Portnow from saying: ‘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.’ 

Best Female became part of the Best Pop Solo Performance category that same year, and on Sunday night four of the five nominees were women.

Powerhouse performers Kelly Clarkson and Lady Gaga – who both previously won a Grammy in the Best Female category –  were joined by Pink and Ke$ha, whose deeply personal song Praying, about her alleged abuses, was the early favorite to win.

Ke$ha did not win her first Grammy in the end, losing out in both this category and Best Pop Vocal album to Ed Sheeran and his single Shape of You.

That upset drew a strong response on social media, with many quick to point out that Sheeran won for a song in which he sings about the shape of a woman’s body. 

 ‘Once again, #EdSheeran wins over much stronger female contenders, so instead of #Kesha ‘s song about overcoming sexual abuse, we reward another song by a man about a woman’s body,’ wrote Anya Silver on Twitter.

And Mo Ryan wrote: ‘I’m 51. And Sting is a fine artist. He wasn’t nominated for anything. He got 10 minutes of screen time. Lorde, the only female Album of the Year nominee, got exactly zero stage time.’

It was Alessia Cara who scored the one solo win of the night, beating out SZA and Julia Michaels, among others, for Best New Artist.

Rihanna was also a winner during the telecast, but for Best Rap / Sung Collaboration with Kendrick Lamar.

There were no women among the many writers and producers in the Best Song, Record and Album categories, which all went to Bruno Mars.

This does however come just one year after Adele won big in 2016 and the year before that it was Taylor Swift who owned the night.



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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