On Grammy night earlier this year, Neil Portnow, the head of the Recording Academy, sparked outrage when he told reporters that women need to “step up” to be better represented at the ceremony. Now the Recording Academy has formed a special task force to examine “barriers and biases affecting women and other underrepresented voices in the music industry.”
Cam and Nashville resident Sheryl Crow are among the musicians who’ve joined the task force, along with R&B singer Andra Day, rapper/actor Common, and super-producer Jimmy Jam. The rest of the panel is mostly made up of music industry and media executives.
Sheryl was one of the artists who expressed dismay at Portnow’s comments, tweeting, “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 added the hashtag #GrammysSoMale.
The first issue in front of the task force will be reviewing the Recording Academy itself, including membership, awards, the Grammy telecast and more. On this year’s Grammy telecast, only one major award went to a solo female artist — Canadian singer/songwriter Alessia Cara — while pop star Lorde, the only female Album of the Year nominee, wasn’t even offered a solo performance slot.
The New York Times reported that only nine percent of all Grammy nominees in the past six years have been women. We’ll see if that changes in time for the 2019 Grammys.
The task force has set up a feedback tool to collect public input. If you’d like to tell them what you think of the situation, visit Grammy.com/taskforcefeedback.
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