The people behind the Grammys didn’t make things too easy on themselves last night! Faced with a year full of great music — much of which was actually, somewhat miraculously, nominated for major awards — the Grammy voters and producers somehow turned this year’s narrative into “this show rewards men who make frothy, surface-level pop music. The show, of course, wouldn’t let Lorde perform her own music, even after extending that invitation to all the other nominees for Album Of The Year, all of whom were male. Meanwhile, Bruno Mars won every award for which he was nominated, and the only woman who accepted an award on the telecast last night was Best New Artist winner Alessia Cara. And in attempting to brush off the question of misogyny, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow essentially blamed women for not being good enough at music.
Speaking to Variety about the marginalization of female artists at this year’s ceremony, Portnow had this to say:
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.
Yikes! Meanwhile, Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich, asked about the same issue, said, “It’s not for me to talk about. I produce the TV show.” Asked whether it was a mistake to leave a Lorde performance off of the show, Ehrlich said, “I don’t know if it was a mistake. These shows are a matter of choices. We have a box and it gets full. She had a great album. There’s no way we can really deal with everybody.”
And as to whether the presence of Taylor Swift could’ve improved the situation, Ehrlich said, “It wasn’t her year. She was kind of off cycle. Hopefully we’ll see her next year.”
UPDATE: Portnow has apologized, kind of.