Iggy Azalea is among the many voices speaking out against Neil Portnow, the President and CEO of the Recording Academy, for comments he made about how women in music need to “step up” to be recognized.
“Neil Portnow really has me heated with his ‘women need to step up’ Grammy-Boys-Club bullshit statement,” she tweeted. “Or instead of being gracious and wearing white flowers on the carpet (bringing in the viewers for his telecast in designer gowns) women should consider if we NEED to take firmer action and stay at home in PJs next year… see how that works out for Neil.”
Although she deleted the tweets, Azalea returned to Twitter with more thoughts about the Grammys. “I’m not saying we should boycott anything just yet,” she clarified. “However, if women don’t see signs of real change throughout the year a firmer stance may be needed to be taken seriously. I just want to see my peers valued. #TimesUp”
The four-time nominee, who’s yet to win a Grammy, went on to say that this movement isn’t about taking anything away from male artists. “I don’t think any of us are saying male artists are undeserving of recognition and celebration too,” she added, “but we women know what goes on behind the curtain and so that’s why that comment from Neil has the girls fuming.”
After Portnow’s statements sparked controversy, the Recording Academy President issued a statement. “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,” he explained. “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.”
His original comments were as follows: “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.”
Several other women in music responded to the comments, including Pink, a 19-time nominee and 3-time winner who performed at this year’s show. “Women in music don’t need to ‘step up’ — women have been stepping since the beginning of time,” she wrote. “Stepping up, and also stepping aside. 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, 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.”
Only two women received awards during the televised broadcast on Sunday (Jan. 28). Alessia Cara won Best New Artist and Rihanna nabbed Best Rap/Sung Performance with Kendrick Lamar for “LOYALTY.” Further showcasing the gender disparities, Janelle Monáe tweeted: “A total of 90.7% of nominees between 2013 and 2018 were male, meaning just 9.3% were women. #TimesUp #Grammys.”