Just like at the Golden Globe Awards, the 2018 Grammy Awards had a pretty significant focus on #MeToo and #TimesUp. Many of the Grammy attendees wore a white rose in solidarity with the movements. And while there were some truly amazing moments in the awards ceremony, like Kesha’s breathtaking performance of “Praying,” Pattie LuPone’s gut-punching performance of “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina,” and Janelle Monáe’ powerful speech, there was still one glaring omission in the Grammys this year: female winners.
The awards ceremony did a pretty terrible job representing women in the major, televised award categories, despite the focus on #TimesUp and #MeToo. Alessia Cara was the one and only solo female Grammy winner this year when she took home the trophy for Best New Artist, while Rihanna took home a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Performance for her work with Kendrick Lamar on “Loyalty.”
Beyond the awards themselves, the performance lineup didn’t do a great job of representing the female nominees. Like how Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, and Childish Gambino were all offered solo performances in celebration of their Album of the Year nomination, and the only woman nominated in the category, Lorde, was not.
It’s quite puzzling to see the way the Grammys slighted women this year, especially considering the epic women who were nominated.
For Best Pop Performance, for instance, Ed Sheeran’s now Grammy Award-winning “Shape of You” went head-to-head with the work of four incredibly strong female nominees — including Kesha’s “Praying,” which has become an anthem of sorts of the #MeToo movement.
When asked about the gender discrepancy in the awards, Grammys President Neil Portnow didn’t have any excuse for overlooking the women. Instead, he doubled down on the Recording Academy’s choices and essentially said that women needed to step up:
While Portnow did go on to say that he thinks those women who did manage to reach that next level would be welcomed into the community, it’s a little hard to believe this when nearly every woman who “stepped up” enough to be nominated for a Grammy in the major, televised categories this year lost.
Of course, we’re so excited to see women like Cara and Rihanna win Grammy Awards, as well as women like Shakira and Carrie Fisher win in categories like Best Latin Pop Album and Best Spoken Word Album, respectively, off-screen. However, it’s not only upsetting that men dominated the awards show, but also that the Grammys President didn’t seem to see a problem with how the awards shook out.
It seems there’s still a lot of work to do when it comes to recognizing the achievements of women.