Only one woman took home a headline award at the 2018 Grammy Awards Sunday night, but the Grammy organization says that's not because they're biased, it's just because women aren't turning in the same quality of product that men are.
The only female honoree, Alessia Cara, won "best new artist," and although women were the focus of a red carpet protest and were featured in nearly all of Sunday night's performances — many of which were dedicated to the cause of women's rights — there was only one woman, Lorde, nominated for the coveted "Album of the Year" prize.
But according to Recording Academy president Neil Portnow, that wasn't because the Academy was necessarily biased against women. It's actually because women musicians just aren't that good at what they do. And if they feel unwelcome in certain aspects of the music business, Portnow added, they need to "step up."
"I think it has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and their souls — who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, who want to be producers, who want to be part of the industry on an executive level — to step up, because I think they would be welcome," Portnow told media in an interview after the ceremony.
As for whether the Grammy organization and the Recording Academy itself make it easy for women to join the ranks of elite performers, Portnow says they're already doing all they can.
"But I think it's really a combination of us in the industry making a welcome mat very obvious: creating mentorships, creating opportunities, not only for women, but for all people. And moving forward, creating that next generation of artists who feel like they can do anything and say anything," he said.
Portnow refused to answer why Lorde, who was the only female nominee for the night's biggest prize, wasn't given her own solo performance, even though U2 was given two and Elton John performed with the not-nominated Miley Cyrus. Instead, other Grammy officials simply said the show had a "wealth of riches" and they were forced to "balance."
Portnow's comments aren't likely to be well received among the type of social justice warriors pushing much of the celebrity anti-harassment movement, even if he's correct and women didn't turn in stellar performances in 2017 the way they had in years past — a contention that's hard to believe.