After the lack of female nominees or major winners at the Grammys on Sunday night, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said that more women need to “step up” to get recognized.


Pink is one of many who strongly disagree with Portnow’s sentiments. Only one woman, Alessia Cara, won one of the nine major awards (best new artist) at the Grammys, and Portnow’s response was controversial. “I think 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, who want to be producers, who want to be part of the industry on the executive level — to step up,” he told Variety.

In response, Pink shared a handwritten note on social media explaining that “women have been stepping since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside,” the note read. “Women OWNED music this year. They’ve been KILLING IT. And every year before this. When we celebrate and honor the talent and accomplishments of women, and how much women STEP UP every year, 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.”

Janelle Monáe also got involved, taking to Twitter to point out the unbalanced nominations between genders. “A total of 90.7% of nominees between 2013 and 2018 were male, meaning just 9.3% were women. #TimesUp #Grammys,” she said. “Ugh bout 2 step up on 2 ur face,” Charli XCX added on Twitter. “Women are making amazing music right now. Wtf is this dude talking about?” Sheryl Crow got involved as well, and made a case for a return to gendered Grammy categories.
“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),” she said.

Portnow has since apologized for his comment, but places the blame on those who took his words “out of context.” “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 said. “Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced … 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.”

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