Recording academy announces task force for gender balance

Esequiel Farfan
Febrero 6, 2018

Last week, Neil R. Portnow the president of The Recording Academy (NARAS) proclaimed at the Grammys that women in music need to "step up" in order to further their careers.

Elsewhere, in a joint letter to the Academy, six top female music industry execs have described the organisation as "woefully out of touch".

Within days, a number of female artists including, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow and Katy Perry had shot back a torrent of scathing and frustrated responses. She condemned Donald Trump in her protest chant "Tiny Hands", which was then used at the 2017 Women's March, with lyrics repeating "We don't want your tiny hands / anywhere near our underpants".

In this performance, "Worthy" is behind me on this stage, because it is my favorite word, my mantra, my life's philosophy.

Michele Anthony, an executive vice president at the Universal Music Group; Jody Gerson, the CEO of Universal's publishing arm; Julie Greenwald, the co-chairman of Atlantic Records; Sylvia Rhone, the president of Epic Records; Julie Swidler, the general counsel of Sony Music; and Desiree Perez, the chief operating officer of Roc Nation were all listed on the signature.

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Or the sleazy old men earning a killing off the looks and talents of young women who don't know what they're allowed to say no to, whether it's being told to wear less, or smile more, or work with this producer, or be nice to that label exec, or to be quiet about that sexual assault, that rape, just be quiet, and you might have a chance of making some money for us.

On Monday afternoon, Portnow responded with a brief statement, per the Times. "We appreciate the points raised in this letter and welcome the opportunity to work with these executives to address the issues of inclusion, representation, fairness, and diversity in our community", he said.

Portnow subsequently announced on Thursday, that the Recording Academy would be establishing a task force to break down barriers impeding the advancement of female and minority artists in the industry. He was interviewed backstage at the ceremony where he was also questioned as to why Lorde, the only female artist to be nominated for Album Of The Year, wasn't invited to perform.

Bruno Mars was the evenings biggest victor, bagging a total of six awards, including Album of the Year. For this year's Grammys, Alessia Cara came away as the only woman victor among the categories televised during the ceremony.

Here's to hoping that this new taskforce, created to "overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community", learns to "deal with everybody".

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