Billed as ‘Music’s Biggest Night’, the Grammy Awards, the very public face of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, o have become a staple of awards season. Musicians all over the planet follow the nominees with anticipation, watch the annual event and dream of one day being able to share the Grammy stage, thank the Recording Academy, and take home the gold.
The Grammy Awards also pride themselves on being much more than an award show. As one of the most prominent representations of the Music Industry, it’s no surprise that the artists and creators within are often committed to be on the leading edge of important social change. As TMZ reports, this Sunday’s show is no different…
The white rose movement at the Grammys has florists scrambling to fill TONS of orders … the demand is so overwhelming they’ve had to turn away business.
We talked to a bunch of NYC flower shops who tell us they’ve fielded a crazy number of requests for white roses that Grammy attendees plan to wear Sunday at Madison Square Garden. As you know … guests are wearing them to show solidarity with the Time’s Up movement. It’s music’s version of the black gowns at the Golden Globes.
But in the #TimesUp era, visual statements are truly just the beginning, and they alone fall far short of the systemic change needed in the Music Industry. Much like Hollywood, the professional world of music is full of gender bias, inequity, prejudice and misogyny. The world has watched as artist Kesha had to fight for her very career against alleged abuser and long-time music Producer Dr. Luke… just one out of hundreds of tragic stories. But even in the less extreme, women in the music industry still have far fewer options than their male counterparts.
This may seem shocking to some, as some of the most powerful women in entertainment today– Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Adele– come from the world of music. But as lead artists and mega-stars, they are brave, bold exceptions to a tragic rule.
Take the field of Music Production, where female perspectives remain woefully few in 2018. For a music project, such as an album, a Producer is the equivalent of the Director in a film… they take the songs as written, and do what’s necessary to bring them into fruition. In the entire 43 year history of The Grammys, a woman has never won for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. Though music legend Janet Jackson made history in 1990 as the first woman ever nominated for a Producer of the Year award, sadly only 7 other women have been as widely recognized for their Production work… Paula Cole, Sheryl Crow, Lauryn Hill, Mariah Carey, Lisa Coleman, Wendy Melvoin and Lauren Christy. Yes, in 43 years, only 8 women have been nominated!
This year’s nominees?? All male.
And that’s not for a lack of trying. Industry powerhouses like Madonna, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift have produced throughout their respective discographies. Many prominent female artists have copious production work not only for themselves but also other artists, including Missy Elliott and Linda Perry, among the most prolific. But time and again, these voices are locked out of the production booth, and therefore locked out of an important seat at music’s most powerful table. In this arena, the non-classical sphere should take an important cue from their counterparts in classical music.
As we all know, misogyny is more than just the locking of doors to deny opportunity, favor or understanding. It also shows up in how those in how those qualities are distributed in a controversy. Speaking of Jackson, most Americans probably remember one of the biggest stories of 2004– the infamous wardrobe malfunction, and massive fallout which occurred from the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show.
In the midst of the firestorm were two artists… Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, both of whom were scheduled to appear at the Grammy Awards. Ms. Jackson, a 5-time Grammy winner multiple nominee and industry icon, was asked not to attend just before the show, while Timberlake not only kept his invitation, but went on to win major awards that night and practically laughed off the situation. Jackson, in the midst of being lambasted by all corners of the press, also had to endure a cold shoulder from the music industry’s signature organization.
The Grammys have yet to apologize to Ms. Jackson, and she has not attended the awards show since that time.
Over the last year, a tectonic shift has begun in the very structure of American society. As we move away from the ‘default settings’ of resting power into the mostly male archetype, it’s hugely important that the music community stands up and speaks out on Grammy night. And after the celebration and parties conclude, it will be time to do some real work towards equality and respect.