Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Charli XCX Slam Grammys President for Saying Women Need to 'Step Up'
Katy Perry and Charli XCX are criticizing Recording Academy president Neil Portnow for saying that women need to “step up” if they want more Grammy Awards
Hours after Pink fired back on Monday, Perry tweeted support for her comments, writing, “👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 Another powerful woman, leading by example. We ALL have a responsibility to call out the absurd lack of equality everywhere we see it. I’m proud of ALL the women making incredible art in the face of continual resistance. ✊🏻 P.s VH1 Divas Live.”
“ugh bout 2 step up on 2 ur face.. women are making AMAZING music right now wtf is this dude talking about ?????” wrote Charli XCX.
Kelly Clarkson also added her thoughts on Wednesday, using her recent album as Exhibit A. “A confused soul said women need 2 ‘step up’ their A-game if they wanna start winning & u know what I’m not even mad at ignorance,” she tweeted. “I’m just gonna kindly point u n the direction of my A-game album I recently dropped #MeaningOfLife#UrWelcome I Jenna Dewan’d that s—t y’all #stepup”
Fifth Harmony singer Lauren Jauregui wrote about being disappointed that SZA — nominated for best new artist, best R&B performance, best R&B song, best urban contemporary album, and best rap/sung performance — lost four awards to men. Meanwhile, Alessia Cara, the only woman to beat SZA (in the best new artist category), has had to defend her win on social media.
In the wake of the male-dominated Grammys on Sunday — Cara was the only woman to win a major award during the broadcast — Portnow addressed the #GrammysSoMale tweets in an interview with Variety. “I think 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, who want to be producers, who want to be part of the industry on the executive level — to step up,” he said in part. (The Recording Academy did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.)
Pink was the first major pop star to come out against the comments on Monday. “Women in music don’t need to ‘step up’ — women have been stepping since the beginning of time,” she shared in a handwritten note. “Stepping up, and also stepping aside. Women OWNED music this year. They’ve been KILLING IT. And every year before this. When we celebrate and honor the talent and accomplishments of women, and how much women STEP UP every year, and how much women STEP UP every year, against all odds, we show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal, and what it looks like to be fair.”
Despite Portnow’s attempt to walk back his comments, many high ranking women in the music industry are calling for his resignation from the Recording Academy. “We need a leader to think outside of the metaphorical box and start demanding all voices be heard,” reads a letter signed by 21 women, according to NBC News. Among the signatures are MAC Presents president Marcie Allen, attorney Rosemary Carroll, Marsha Vlasic of Artist Group International and Pharrell Williams’ manager Caron Veazey.
“Neil, if you do not have the necessary skill set, foresight and point of view to gracefully and courageously move this system forward to represent women, people of color and the LGBTQ community in a way that is not only revolutionary, but necessary, we ask that you step down,” it continues.