Katy Perry, Halsey + More Put Grammys President on Blast Following ‘Step Up’ Comment
Pink isn't the only musician speaking out about Recording Academy president Neil Portnow's offensive suggestion that women need to "step up" if they want to be "part of the [music] industry."
Within 48 hours of the Grammys, which featured a disappointingly imbalanced ratio of male to female award winners (Alessia Cara was the only woman to win in the Big Four categories, and the only televised female award winner), artists like Katy Perry, Halsey and Charli XCX have come forward to voice their frustrations with the Recording Academy, particularly Portnow's tone deaf statement.
Halsey called Portnow's comments "absurd," while Charli XCX lamented, "Women are making AMAZING music right now. Wtf is this dude talking about?"
Perry praised Pink's handwritten letter, sharing, "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."
See more reactions, below:
Following the ceremony on Sunday (January 28), #GrammysSoMale began trending on Twitter, with many viewers voicing their disappointment over the award show's apparent lack of reverence towards the music industry's many talented women—from reports that Album of the Year nominee Lorde wasn't asked to perform solo like her peers, to Kesha's widely baffling Best Pop Solo Performance loss to Ed Sheeran.
On Monday (January 29), Variety shared a statement from Portnow regarding the Grammys' gender disparity, in which he claimed:
“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.”
On Tuesday (January 30), Variety published a follow-up statement from Portnow, in which he admitted "he wasn't as articulate as I should have been."
Read his full statement below:
“Sunday night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year’s Grammy Awards,” it reads. “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.”