Pink tells Grammy president to step off after he tells female musicians to ‘step up’

The controversies keep piling up for the Grammys. After snubbing hip-hop in general field categories yet again and reminding music fans of the recording academy’s cultural blind spots, the telecast also came under fire for only awarding one woman as a lead artist during the entire primetime telecast: Best New Artist champ Alessia Cara. And it came to light that Lorde, the only woman nominated for Album of the Year, was the only nominee in that category who wasn’t offered an opportunity to perform solo at the event. Grammys president and CEO Neil Portnow responded with comments that only added fuel to the fire, and now Grammy winner Pink is sounding off.

Portnow told Variety in response to the #GrammysSoMale backlash, “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.” Those comments struck many as insensitive, especially after a Grammys telecast in which Kesha performed a nominated song, “Praying,” that was inspired by sexual abuse she suffered within the music industry.

SEE Recording academy president Neil Portnow clarifies ‘step up’ comment about women at the Grammy Awards

Now Pink, a three-time Grammy winner in her own right, is sounding off. She posted on Twitter, “Women in music don’t need to ‘step up’ — women have been stepping up since the beginning of time … Women owned music this year. They’ve been killing it. And every year before this.” See Pink’s complete statement below.

Last year Portnow also dismissed accusations of Grammy racism after Adele (“25”) upset Beyonce (“Lemonade”) for Album of the Year: “No, I don’t think there’s a race problem at all … We don’t, as musicians, in my humble opinion, listen to music based on gender or race or ethnicity. When you go to vote on a piece of music — at least the way that I approach it — is you almost put a blindfold on and you listen.”

The Grammys’ anti-hip-hop bias has already prompted Frank Ocean and Drake to walk away from the awards. Portnow now telling female artists to “step up” probably won’t help matters.

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