January 30, 2018


Halsey, Katy Perry, Charli XCX & More Slam GRAMMYs President's Ignorant 'Step Up' Comments

Getty Images
Getty Images

Many women in the music industry are calling out Recording Academy president Neil Portnow for his incredibly tone-deaf comments about the GRAMMYs, where he stated female artists need to "step up" in order to be recognized. Of course, that didn't sit well with many people and now Portnow is rightfully being slammed.

"Women in music don't need to 'step up.' Women have been stepping up since the beginning of time," Pink fired back in a Twitter note. "Stepping up, and also stepping aside...When we celebrate and honor the talent and accomplishments of women, 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."

Charli XCX was not having it either, tweeting: "Ugh bout 2 step up on 2 ur face.. women are making AMAZING music right now wtf is this dude talking about ?????"

Halsey also weighed in on the situation in a string of tweets, calling Portnow's statement "absurd." "I strongly back the disagreement with the way that the Academy approaches things but please remember the Grammys are voted by a 'jury of peers' which means other artists and producers and writers select the nominees," she began. Sheryl Crow, Katy Perry, Justin Tranter and others joined in as well.

It seems like the heat was too much to bare for Portnow, as he responded to (note: not apologized) for the backlash. His statement to Billboard reads:

"Last night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year's GRAMMY Awards. 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."

Portnow's "step up" comments aren't just his own. Many male figures in this industry think just the same, as they give more precedence to their colleagues rather than giving women the space we deserve. From singers to engineers, there are a handful of talented women who have worked just as hard (sometimes even harder) for equal representation. Hollywood already announced that Time's Up in Hollywood, and it's time for music to take action.

Next, watch Tinashe—another powerful woman in the music industry—break down her "No Drama" video for us, from the dance routine to all the different looks, and why her Joyride album took so long: