Recording Academy president Neil Portnow has issued another statement about his interview after the Grammys on Sunday, Jan. 28. At the time, he sparked some serious backlash after essentially blaming women for not being good enough to receive Grammy nominations.
Portnow explains the Recording Academy is establishing a task force to “review every aspect of what we do as an organization and identify where we can do more to overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community.”
“I appreciate that the issue of gender bias needs to be addressed in our industry, and share in the urgency to attack it head on,” he writes. “We as an organization, and I as its leader, pledge our commitment to doing that.”
He also says the Recording Academy will share more information soon. Read the full statement below:
To The Music Community—
After hearing from many friends and colleagues, I understand the hurt that my poor choice of words following last Sunday's GRAMMY telecast has caused. I also now realize that it's about more than just my words. Because those words, while not reflective of my beliefs, echo the real experience of too many women. I'd like to help make that right.
The Recording Academy is establishing an independent task force to review every aspect of what we do as an organization and identify where we can do more to overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community. We will also place ourselves under a microscope and tackle whatever truths are revealed.
I appreciate that the issue of gender bias needs to be addressed in our industry, and share in the urgency to attack it head on. We as an organization, and I as its leader, pledge our commitment to doing that. We will share more information about the steps we are taking in the coming weeks.
President/CEO of the Recording Academy
It's clear the Grammys are in need of a change. #GrammysSoMale was a major topic of discussion, and for an obvious reason. All the Album Of The Year nominees were invited to perform solo during the awards show, but Lorde was not asked to perform her own music. And the only award a woman accepted during the live broadcast was Best New Artist winner Alessia Cara.
When asked about that, Portnow declared women need to “step up” because he “thinks they would be welcome” in the industry on the executive level.
“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 says.
The day after the awards, Portnow shared a new statement, saying he regrets using the words “step up.”
“Sunday night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year’s Grammy Awards,” he said in a statement to Variety. “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 continues, saying: “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.
“I regret that I wasn’t as articulate as I should have been in conveying this thought. I remain committed to doing everything I can to make our music community a better, safer, and more representative place for everyone.”
Clearly, there needs to be some change. It’s 2018—we can do better.