The Grammys President Told Women To 'Step Up,' And Pink Isn't Having It

"Women have been stepping up since the beginning of time."

Pink is not here for Recording Academy President Neil Portnow's comment that female artists need to "step up" if they want better representation at the Grammys, and she shared her thoughts in a powerful letter on Twitter Monday.

Portnow's words were in response to this year's #GrammysSoMale controversy. Although the awards featured support for the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, as well as powerful performances from artists such as Kesha, Lady Gaga, and Pink herself, many saw this year's event as too much of a boys' club.

Lorde, the only female nominee for Album of the Year, was also the only nominee in that category who wasn't asked to perform solo at the awards. Additionally, only 11 of the total 84 awards went to women, and only one woman actually received an award during the telecast (Alessia Cara for Best New Artist).

"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," Portnow told Variety in response to the controversy.

"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," Portnow continued.

Many took issue with his suggestion that women need to do more to change a sexist industry, including Pink, who posted a handwritten letter on Twitter responding to the comment. "Women in music don't need to 'step up' — women have been stepping up since the beginning of time," she wrote. "Stepping up, and also stepping aside."

She added that women have been "killing it," this year and throughout history. "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.

Pink, who performed "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken" during Sunday's show, was nominated in the Best Pop Solo Performance category for her hit single "What About Us," alongside other empowering songs from fellow female artists Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga, and Kesha. However, many were disappointed that the award instead went to Ed Sheeran, the sole male nominee, for a song focused on a woman's body.

Pink's letter received a positive response from many, earning more than 16,000 retweets as of this writing. One supportive response came from fellow artist Katy Perry. "Another powerful woman, leading by example," she wrote of Pink. "We ALL have a responsibility to call out the absurd lack of equality everywhere we see it. I'm proud of ALL the women making incredible art in the face of continual resistance."

She ended with a shout-out to VH1's Divas Live event, which has given the spotlight to talented female artists over the years. We hope future Grammys broadcasts live up to that example and give more women a chance to shine.


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