When the 2018 GRAMMYs announced that artists will wear white roses in solidarity with the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, I had a feeling the sentiment wasn't going to travel too far during the actual ceremony. Last night's show proved me right, as it appeared to just be a ploy as women were notably shut out.
The GRAMMYs were yet another example of the ignorance in this male-dominated music industry, which was noticeable by the comments made by the most important person behind the ceremony—Recording Academy president Neil Portnow. When asked by Variety his thoughts on #GRAMMYsSoMale, his responded in defense of the show and not women. He was quoted from the outlet saying:
“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… [They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome. 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.”
From the performers to the executives to the publicists, women have carried more than their equal weight of this music industry with most of their efforts being dismal, financially, unfair and abusive. So Mr. Portnow, how much more are you expecting of us so we can "step up" to your standards? To make matters worse, Album of the Year nominee Lorde was reportedly not given a chance to perform even though the other men in that category (Childish Gambino, Jay-Z and winner Bruno Mars) were offered. “I don’t know if it was a mistake. These shows are a matter of choices," GRAMMYs show producer Ken Ehrlich explained. "We have a box and it gets full. She had a great album. There’s no way we can really deal with everybody.” Dismissive answers like these are examples of how shows like the GRAMMYs, Golden Globes, Oscars, etc. are strategically holding talented women back.
A startling statistic rumbled through social media, which stated nine percent of the 899 nominees in the past six GRAMMY Awards fields were women, something that even Lorde's mother Sonja Yelich pointed out on Twitter. That dismissal of female artists was seen when Alessia Cara was the only woman to win in a major category (Best New Artist) and when Ed Sheeran's reductive "Shape of You" inexplicably won over Kesha's statement-making "Praying" for Best Pop Solo Performance. So while Kesha's significant, female-led performance and Janelle Monáe's powerful Time's Up message were important moments during the show, they will ultimately be swept under that embattled red carpet and forgotten if the music industry doesn't follow Hollywood's initiatives to finally take action.