60th annual Grammys faces backlash over awarding mostly male artists

(By: Rhea Singh)

The 60th annual Grammy awards set out to present awards to a diverse array of winners that were nominated three months prior. Crowd expectation was that the much-anticipated show would celebrate the change in the industry through movements like #TimesUp. However, the show received heated backlash from viewers who believed it failed to deliver what should have been a progressive night and that it lacked gender diversity.

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(Photo courtesy of Timothy A. Clary/AFP for Getty Images)

Bruno Mars won seven awards including Album of the Year for ’24k Magic,’ and Kendrick Lamar dominated the rap category by winning every award including Best Rap Album. Their wins proved that this year’s nominees well-represented artists of colour. Even with this change, the reaction from social media indicated that the show neglected to emphasize the accomplishments of women within the music industry.

The hashtag “GrammysSoMale” emerged due to the lack of female winners and presence on stage. Artists such as Kesha, Cardi B and SZA were snubbed. SZA in particular was nominated for five awards, but she did not win one.

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(Photo courtesy of Theo Wargo for WireImage/Getty Images)

In response, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow told Variety that women need to “step up because I think they would be welcome.”

The night was not a complete loss for female artists, however, as Alessia Cara won Best New Artist. She was the only woman to win in a major televised category.

Album of the Year nominee Lorde was not offered a solo performance this year unlike her fellow male nominees. In response to Lorde’s absence, Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich said, “There’s no way we can really deal with everybody.”

The event nonetheless did not forget the importance of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement. White roses were worn by some of the biggest names in the industry to fight against sexual harassment. The white rose was a staple of the award show, catalyzing the most powerful performances of the show.

Kendrick Lamar opened the show. Even though Lamar’s politically-driven performance was extremely moving, with the likes of Bono and Dave Chappelle contributing to Lamar’s message of oppression, it was the performances and speeches by Kesha and Janelle Monáe that emphasized the need for change.

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(Photo courtesy of Kevin Winter for Getty Images for NARAS)

Kesha’s jaw-dropping performance of “Praying” portrayed the artist’s own struggles alongside Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Bebe Rexha and other women alike all dressed in white. The performance was the show’s sign of solidarity towards the movement.

Much like Kesha, Monáe preached a powerful message about fighting against the inequality of women. Monáe said, “…to those who would dare try and silence us, we offer you two words: Time’s up.” Monáe did not shy away from addressing the “abuse of power” within the music industry.

DACA recipients were not forgotten during the show, as Cabello, herself a proud immigrant, stated, “We remember that this country was built by dreamers, for dreamers…” Logic took a similar stance during his performance of the Grammy nominated “1-800-273-8255” alongside Khalid and Alessia Cara.

“To all the beautiful countries filled with culture and diversity and thousands of years of history – you are not shithole countries,” said Logic.

The show did come with a few surprises like Portugal. the Man’s “Feel it Still” winning Best Pop Duo/Group Performance against Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito.” Another surprise was Childish Gambino’s stellar performance of “Terrified,” straying away from “Redbone” which was expected by fans.

What were your thoughts of this year’s Grammy awards? Let us know in the comments below or send us a tweet @RUtvNews.

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