Our View: Award shows need to ‘step up’ their game with inclusivity

Music is one of America’s biggest diversifiers. One is able to express different values, perceptions and feelings with simple combinations of different chords. There’s a sound for every person, an album for every emotion.

The music industry is evolving, along with singers’ and songwriters’ viewpoints of political and social ideals. So, can anyone explain why men are still dominating award shows? We’ve already seen movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up sparking awareness for the issues we are facing, but if this past 2018 Grammy Awards ceremony is any indication of where we are in the movement, we have a long way to go.

The 60th annual Grammy Awards show was so male-dominated that the new hashtag #GrammysSoMale started trending. Alessia Cara was awarded Best New Artist on air, but that’s the last female winner who we can recall was presented with the honorable trophy. The way the Grammy Awards’ categories are structured, there’s an obvious correlation why men are dominating in the nomination department.  

Let us not forget the notorious statement from Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, when he said women needed to “step up” if they want to be “more creatively involved in the music business.” Newsflash, sire: Women have been trying to break strides in the music industry, not to mention every other industry, in the public eye. Women are striving for equal representation and opportunity, which have been ongoing struggles for centuries.

How is it that a performer like Kesha took the stage and inspired thousands with her hit “Praying” – which is about surviving sexual abuse, mind you – was beaten by Ed Sheeran’s song that was quite literally about admiring a woman’s body?

Don’t get us wrong, there are male artists who deserve recognition for the work that they produce. Like the current wave of feminism’s disapproval of misandry, we are not trying to discredit the art that men create. Rather, we simply want equal representation for women and people of color in award ceremonies.

Women are breaking through barriers, singing about issues that need to be heard, to which listeners can relate. Women are trying to help heal sexism’s wounds with their words, and it’s about time they get recognition. It is time for award ceremonies to start listening to what women are demanding and start including women and people of color in the categories they create. It’s time to join the movement and start giving women the respect they inherently deserve.

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