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29th Jan 2018

Only one woman won a major award at last night’s Grammys


As it turns out, James Cordon wasn’t the worst thing about this year’s Grammys.

(And a lot of people were pretty annoyed at James Cordon during this year’s Grammys.)

The question on everybody’s lips was not concerned with the mildly irritating lad from London but rather the severe lack of female winners – in major awards and elsewhere.

Essentially, everybody was wondering: where were all the women?

Last night’s awards ceremony went a little something like this.

Bruno Mars won everything, Kesha gave a powerful performance about her abuse survival, Pink dressed down in a nod to the #TimesUp movement, Ed Sheeran picked up the award for best pop solo performance much to the dismay of absolutely everybody, and SZA was royally snubbed.

Out of the 20 nominations available in the four largest categories, five women were up with a chance of winning.

Just one of them – Alessia Cara – took home an award for best new artist.

Other notable wins from women throughout the night included Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman, and Rihanna who accepted an award alongside Kendrick Lemar for the track, LOYALTY.

Out of the 87 awards going on the night, just 17 of them were presented to women or female-led bands, which begs the question that award show watchers and fans everywhere have been asking since the #OscarSoWhite controversy of 2016 – would a bit of diversity really be that awful?


A post shared by ALESSIA CARA (@alessiasmusic) on

According to Recording Academy president Neil Portnow though, it might just be.

When Variety asked him what he thought about the low numbers of women receiving awards, he had this to say:

“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. 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.”

While Portnow’s words have been largely taken out of context to suggest that he believes the current female artists are simply not worthy of recognition, what he’s actually saying isn’t all that much better.

Women who have creativity in their hearts and in their souls are stepping up. They’re there and they’ve been recording, writing, and producing music for a very long time.

Sure, there’s a definite need for more women to be encouraged to enter the industry, but this encouragement needs to come from inside as well as out.

Celebrate music written, performed, and produced by incredible women, and you’ll get more incredible women “stepping up.”

Like most awards ceremonies of late, the Grammys paid particular focus to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

Artists wore white roses, Lorde pinned an excerpt from an essay written by feminist artist Jenny Holzer to the back of her dress, and Janelle Monae delivered a moving speech about harassment and discrimination.

The message was there and, unfortunately, somewhat lost amid the #GrammysSoMale hashtags and the uproar over Ed Sheeran’s solo performance win.

He was up against four insanely talented women, after all.

Everybody knows that a Grammy doesn’t equal talent.

It also doesn’t equal work ethic, tracks spit out during a year, or acceptance in the music industry.

But it does equal a fairly accurate representation of what the Recording Academy voting members consider worthy of celebration.

A song about hitting up the club and ogling women (looking at you, Ed) was lauded over the likes of Kesha, Lady Gaga, and Pink – a group of women who are more than well-known for shedding light on an industry that has long exploited its female artists and made it incredibly difficult (but not impossible) for them to succeed doing things their way.

Tackling this issue is far from easy, but a decent starting point might be recognising that women aren’t winning for a lot of different reasons – and not being good enough just isn’t one of them.

And say what you will about talent, but there’s no way Shape Of You deserves a Grammy.