Pink, Katy Perry, and More Female Artists Fire Back at Grammys President Telling Women to ‘Step Up’
The male-dominated 2018 Grammy Awards added insult to injury when, after the show, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said that female artists needed to “step up” if they wanted equal representation. Naturally, female artists were not here for his comments, and are firing back in response, even as he attempts to clarify his comments.
When Portnow was originally asked about the low number of women who won statues on Sunday night, he put the onus on them. “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,” he said. “[They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome.”
“Boys” singer Charli XCX was the first to call out his comments, expressing her anger in a fiery tweet. “Ugh bout 2 step up on 2 ur face,” she wrote in response. “Women are making AMAZING music right now wtf is this dude talking about????”
ugh bout 2 step up on 2 ur face.. women are making AMAZING music right now wtf is this dude talking about ????? https://t.co/EkijTA33QW
— CHARLI XCX (@charli_xcx) January 29, 2018
Pink, who often praises the power of women, also had some choice words. “Women in music don’t need to ‘step up’ – women have been stepping since the beginning of time,” she said in a handwritten note posted to Twitter. “Stepping up, and also stepping aside. Women OWNED music this year. They’ve been KILLING IT. And every year before this.”
Pink attended the Grammys on Sunday both as a nominee and as a performer. Her stripped-down, emotional performance of “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” was one of the highlights of the night, not only because of the singer’s tremendous vocals, but also for its defiant lyrics that now feel more meaningful than ever.
“There’s not enough rope to tie me down/There’s not enough tape to shut this mouth/The stones you throw can make me bleed/But I won’t stop until we’re free.”
The singer continued her message to the Recording Academy: “When we celebrate and honor the talent and accomplishments of women, and how much women STEP UP every year, against all odds, we show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal, and what it looks like to be fair.”
— P!nk (@Pink) January 29, 2018
Katy Perry backed Pink up while praising her leadership in the industry. “Another powerful woman, leading by example,” she said as she quote-tweeted the “What About Us” singer. “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.” She ended her comment with a suggestion that the two pair up for a new VH1 Divas Live, and reader, we are 100 percent here for that.
👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 Another powerful woman, leading by example. 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. ✊🏻
P.s VH1 Divas Live. https://t.co/RDmB7zRfId
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) January 30, 2018
Portnow has now attempted to clarify his comments, providing a statement to Variety (to whom he gave the original post-Grammys interview). It reads:
“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 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.”
Portnow concluded his statement by saying he is committed to continuing to work toward equality in the music industry. “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.”
What did you think of Portnow’s explanation? Let us know @BritandCo.
(photo via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for NARAS)
Fall is right around the corner, and we're getting amped up for our next session of Selfmade, Brit + Co's 10-week interactive startup school. Designed to help you create a new business or grow your existing one, this course is personally led by Brit + Co founder Brit Morin and co-founder Anjelika Temple, and supported by more than a dozen of the top female entrepreneurs, creatives, and investors in the country. Students receive personalized coaching on everything from how to get out of your comfort zone to how to scale your business, and everything in between. And now, thanks to Office Depot, even more of you can join the course!
For the fall session, we're thrilled to team up with Office Depot to grant 200 FREE scholarship seats to the course. Scholarships are open to US residents, focusing on women of color, women from underserved and underrepresented communities, and women in need of support to help them trail-blaze. After all, we firmly believe that your support system is a huge part of how you achieve greatness, and we are here to cheer all of you on.
To nominate yourself or someone you know for a scholarship, head to our nomination form right here. The deadline for scholarship nominations is September 27th — it's time to take the leap!
Beyond the scholarship, Office Depot is all about helping you accomplish more. Whether it be the start phase, growth phase or keep businesses going phase, Office Depot offers a full suite of business solutions, including services and products, to help you work from anywhere, organize and save time and help build your brand.
So what are you waiting for? Take a chance on yourself and get yourself one step closer to truly being selfmade. Learn more about the Selfmade program, apply for a scholarship and prepare to be inspired :)