Note to Grammy president Neil Portnow: When you’re the chief of an organisation facing backlash for failing to promote women, maybe don’t suggest those women just need to “step up”.
Portnow, along with the Recording Academy he represents, has been at the centre of criticism over the distinct lack of women on the Grammy winners list this year. Many were also puzzled as to why sole female Best Album nominee Lorde was not asked to give a solo performance on the night like all her male counterparts.
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In response, Portnow made a statement to Variety about the things he thought needed to change in order for the Grammys’ dismal record of female winners to be improved.
He did suggest the industry could do more to roll out the “welcome mat”, but his first point was the tired old excuse that women just need to try harder, and the opportunities will come, which by now we all should know, isn’t reality.
“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,” he told the publication.
“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.”