Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow has clarified his controversial statement about the Grammy’s decades-long failure to acknowledge and award female musicians. When asked about it after Sunday night’s show, Portnow told a reporter that “[women need] to step up because I think they would be welcome,” a statement that incited ire from musicians and fans alike. In a statement released to Variety Tuesday morning, Portnow insists that the “step up” line was taken out of context, and doesn’t reflect his true feelings. “I regret that I wasn’t as articulate as I should have been in conveying this thought,” Portnow said. “I remain committed to doing everything I can to make our music community a better, safer, and more representative place for everyone.” See his full statement below:
Sunday night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year’s Grammy Awards. Regrettably, I used two words, ‘step up,’ that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make.
Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced. We must actively work to eliminate these barriers and encourage women to live their dreams and express their passion and creativity through music. We must welcome, mentor, and empower them. Our community will be richer for it.
I regret that I wasn’t as articulate as I should have been in conveying this thought. I remain committed to doing everything I can to make our music community a better, safer, and more representative place for everyone.
Amid the highs, lows, and backlash to Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, a report from the USC Annenberg School released this year found that over the last six years, less than one in ten Grammy nominees was female.