While last night’s Grammy Awards produced highlights such as Kesha singing the #MeToo anthem “Praying” after a rousing introduction by Janelle Monae, the show’s big morning-after takeaway is a different Twitter hashtag: #GrammysSoMale.
After male artists dominated the list of performances and winners, and the formidable statistic emerged that just 9% of the 899 nominees in the past six Grammy Awards fields were women, social media lit up with frustration.
Many reactions seized on a quote from Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy. “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,” Portnow told Deadline’s sister publication Variety. Women need “to step up,” he continued, “because I think they would be welcome. 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.”
One major female artist, Lorde, was notably absent from the Madison Square Garden stage. While her album, Melodrama, was one of the nominees for Album of the Year and a critical favorite, she did not perform.
The creation of the hashtag followed the widespread use of #OscarsSoWhite, which led to systemic changes at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that are still unfolding today. Of course, in keeping with the online backlash against that protest, some social media activity has seen people hitting back at #OscarsSoMale, reasoning that the awards are cyclical and that Taylor Swift, Adele and Beyoncé would soon return to Grammy prominence.
Here are some of the reactions on Twitter, starting with Lorde’s own mother, Sonja Yelich: