The Grammys gave us some seriously fierce female moments Sunday night. Hillary Clinton made an unexpected cameo. Kesha made us weep with her empowering, emotional performance. Blue Ivy told her mom to chill out. But there was one moment we definitely missed out on, and the reason it didn’t happen is pretty frustrating. Lorde was the only woman nominated for Album of the Year — and the only nominee in the category who wasn’t asked to perform on her own.
Album of the Year nominees Childish Gambino, Bruno Mars, and Kendrick Lamar all performed solo during the broadcast, and Jay-Z, (who was also nominated), was reportedly asked to but he declined. Lorde was apparently invited to be part of a musical tribute to Tom Petty, but turned it down. She also skipped the red carpet.
The slight was frustrating, but not all that shocking, TBH. Like other award shows, the Grammys have long gotten heat for not being inclusive of women or people of color. Though the event’s red carpet was dotted with stars sporting white roses to honor the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, plenty of fans pointed out that the show still has a long way to go.
The Grammys executive producer responded to criticism about Lorde’s performance snub after the show, telling Billboard the showrunners just couldn’t make room for everyone:
Just because Lorde didn’t get a chance to take the stage doesn’t mean she didn’t make a statement, though. Instead of a white rose, the singer sewed a poem onto the back of her red dress to support women’s equality, she shared on Instagram. The words came from neo-conceptual artist Jenny Holzer. Even before the show Sunday, Lorde’s mom, New Zealand poet Sonja Yelich, expressed her frustration with the lopsided awards (and industry) on Twitter, sharing a screenshot of an article that only 9 percent of the nominees at the past six Grammy awards have been women.
With all the backlash Lorde’s exclusion has whipped up, we’re hoping producers recognize the powerful statements they’re making by continuing to celebrating more men than women, and the powerful statements honoring female artists as well they could be making instead.