After Exec Tells Women to 'Step Up,' Pink Tells Him to Step Off

Singer blasts Recording Academy President Neil Portnow in open letter on Twitter
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2018 9:00 AM CST
In this Jan. 28, 2018, file photo, Pink performs "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken" at the Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden in New York.   (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)
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(Newser) – #GrammysSoMale? That was one hashtag that popped up after Sunday night's show, in which women seemed to get short shrift during the night's proceedings. Per the AP, Lorde, the only woman nominated for album of the year, didn't perform (but males who weren't nominees did); there were no women up for record of the year; and Ed Sheeran took home honors for best pop solo performance as the only male in that category. Recording Academy President Neil Portnow's take when he was asked about this apparent disparity backstage: "It has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and their souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, who want to be producers, who want to be part of the industry on an executive level, to step up."

Women artists did step up after his remarks, but mainly to criticize him. Perhaps the most vocal, per Mashable, was Pink, who penned an "eviscerating" open letter. "Women in music don't need to 'step up'—women in music have been stepping since the beginning of time," she noted in a handwritten missive on Twitter. "They've been KILLING it." Her rebuttal to Portnow was lauded by other female powerhouses, including Katy Perry, who tweeted: "Another powerful woman, leading by example. We ALL have a responsibility to call out the absurd lack of equality everywhere we see it." And, per the Guardian, Sheryl Crow, who pined for a return to categories broken down by gender. "Who will young girls be inspired by to pick up a guitar and rock when most every category is filled with men?" she posted online. "I'm not sure it is about women needing to 'step up', (as said by the male in charge)."

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