All The Times Women Were Robbed Of Awards They Deserved At The 2018 Grammys
Lorde, SZA and Kesha deserved better.
The 60th Annual Grammy Awards have just wrapped and it looks like The Recording Academy wasn’t CC’d on the diversity memo sent to the Oscars.
The clearest story out of this year’s ceremony is the appallingly low number of women to be recognised for their work. The results have already kickstarted a discussion about structural inequality across the music industry and within The Recording Academy, the organisation that hosts the awards.
The Grammy’s failure to take gender equality seriously was already on show before the first award had even been handed out. This morning Variety reported that Lorde was the only Album of the Year nominee to not be offered a solo performance during the music industry’s night of nights.
According to the report Lorde was offered the opportunity to perform a tribute to Tom Petty, alongside other acts, but turned it down. All the other Album of the Year finalists were offered solo performances.
Lorde’s mum, Sonja Yelich, tweeted a story about the lack of gender diversity at the Grammy’s, with the caption “this says it all”, which people are interpreting as evidence supporting the Variety report.
— Sonja Yelich (@sonjayelich1) January 26, 2018
13 of 18 people on the Grammy board of directors are men. Its chairman, vice chair and CEO are all men. All 6 performers at the big citi pre-Grammy nominee events this week are men. Lorde was nominated for album of the year at the age of 20 and was not even invited to perform. pic.twitter.com/kGxGmh9rIs
— Jacob Bernstein (@BernsteinJacob) January 29, 2018
Only Two Women Performers Won Awards
When the Grammy nominations were announced the general consensus was that The Recording Industry had responded to criticism around a lack of gender and racial diversity. This year’s Album of the Year field, for example, had no white men. But greater diversity in nominees doesn’t necessarily translate to diversity in who picks up an award, as we learnt today.
Before we get into the details it’s worth acknowledging that the bar for gender diversity at the Grammys is depressingly low. A recent study found that over the last 5 years over 90 percent of the nominees were men. However, even with a pathetically low bar, the Grammys still failed to make much headway.
Women were nominated in most categories this year, but only two awards went to female performers. Alessia Cara picked up the award for Best New Artist, fending off SZA, Julia Michaels, Khalid and Lil Uzi Vert, and Shakira won in the Best Latin Pop Album category.
That was it. That was the sum total of women performers who won awards.
Despite being nominated for 5 awards SZA left the Grammys empty handed, which is outrageous on a number of levels.
SZA, the MOST nominated woman at the Grammys, did not win a single Grammy. pic.twitter.com/GgJaejbuaf
— Lex. (@ADitaway_) January 29, 2018
Cardi B, who had two nominations for her song ‘Bodak Yellow’, one of 2017’s most certifiable bangers, also failed to pick up any awards – though it’s a hard ask when you’re up against Kendrick Lamar.
Women Lost Out Even When They Dominated The Field
One of the most jarring moments came during the Best Pop Solo Performance award. Four of the five nominees were women, with Kelly Clarkson, Kesha, Lady Gaga and Pink vying for the award against the sole male nominee: Ed Sheeran. Guess who won? Yep… Ed Sheeran, who didn’t even bother showing up to the awards ceremony.
The decision seems like an even bigger misstep when you contrast it to Kesha’s powerful and emotional performance of ‘Praying‘, the song she was nominated for, at the ceremony.
Like we said, the bar has historically been pretty damn low at the Grammy’s. Despite their prestige (or perhaps because of it) they’re generally a rather dull affair, notorious for making huge, huge mistakes. Remember when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis took out Best Rap Album over Kendrick’s Good Kid, m.A.A.d City, one of the greatest albums ever produced?
Even though our expectations were low it still sucks to see incredible artists like Lorde, SZA and Kesha so glaringly overlooked. The only possible silver lining is that the bleak results might force a serious conversation about tackling the industry’s inherent biases and sorting out this mess.