“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.”
This controversial advice from Recording Academy boss, Neil Portnow caused a tidal wave of backlash overnight and consequently snapped inequality in the music industry into sharp focus.
In fact, a number of (supposedly lazy) female stars and industry heavy weights spoke out to air their fury and give Portnow a well-deserved mouthful.
Never one to shy from a fight, Pink’s handwritten note posted to Twitter hit the nail on the head. She claimed that women across industries have been stepping up “since the beginning of time” and that honouring hard-working, talented women would “show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal.”
— P!nk (@Pink) January 29, 2018
Katy Perry backed this up, saying “we ALL have a responsibility to call out the absurd lack of equality everywhere we see it.”
👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 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
And the rest follows:
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
I wish the #Grammys would return to female/male categories. Who will young girls be inspired by to pick up a guitar and rock when most every category is filled with men? I’m not sure it is about women needing to “step up”, (as said by the male in charge). #GrammysSoMale https://t.co/v1rvbT3pCC
— Sheryl Crow (@SherylCrow) January 29, 2018
I step up and step in everyday! There are countless women who help provide the foundation that this business is built on – Here let me help you Neil and Ken – maybe next year we will have a new Academy president and a new producer. I hear the Academy needs a new accountant since you are in debt – 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 ass. #stupid
It’s not surprising that Portnow has now retracted his comments saying they’d been taken out of context and did not reflect his true beliefs.
“Sunday night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year’s Grammy Awards,” he wrote in a statement to Variety. “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.”
And giving a hoard of talented women the recognition they deserve? Well, that just makes sense now, doesn’t it?