Hello readers! My name is Chloe, a music industry publicity assistant and self-proclaimed news nerd, and I’m here to bring you #TheCrush Report - a monthly series brought to you by me as a way to blab about music industry news and its relevance to the women in it. We’ll be covering everything from award ceremonies and new music releases to issues of diversity and how the #MeToo movement effects the industry as a whole. So come on! Let’s kick off this journey with a rather timely Grammy edition of #TheCrush Report.
It almost goes without saying that the Grammys have received their fair share of criticism in recent years. Many music journalists and fans alike have put the Recording Academy on blast for being out of touch and choosing to recognize overly commercialized mainstream music over artists who are truly deserving of recognition. Oh! And remember that time last year when Neil Portnow said women just have to work harder to be considered for more awards? If you care to get a little more in-depth on the Academy's short comings, let me direct you to this piece by Chris Richards, pop music critic over at the Washington Post.
While I love to be critical, credit deserves to be given where it’s due. Over the past year, the Recording Academy had a bit of an ah-ha moment, and has been working to make improvements. They’ve introduced a Recording Academy Task Force to address issues of diversity and inclusion and whose members include artists like Common, Sheryl Crow, and Andra Day. They’ve also invited hundreds of music creators from diverse backgrounds to take part in the Grammy voting process, which definitely shows in the artists who received nominations this year. Now, let’s get into some of the things to look forward to at this year’s ceremony.
First off, the bare-faced icon that is Alicia Keys will be blessing us with her presence as host. I’ve heard whispers that people are bored of this choice because it is so obviously a ploy for the Grammys to be like, “Look a woman! The people have spoken and we’ve listened!!!” but I’d like to say that I’m here for this choice. Alicia recently announced her #SheIsTheMusic initiative (hey girl, wanna collab?) to increase the number of women involved in all aspects of the music industry, from songwriting and producing, to engineering and other industry professions. Alicia is one of those artists who is really putting her money where her mouth is in terms of encouraging women to get involved and having their voices heard in the industry, and we should all be taking notes.
The Best New Artist category saw a major spike in the ratio of women to men this year, with six of the eight nominees being female artists. I guess you could say women really stepped it up this year, huh Neil Portnow? Anyway, I think this is great. There’s also a good representation of diversity in this category, both sonically and racially. Again: it’s about time, but all of these women are total badasses deserving of this recognition. For those of you really dedicated to not caring about the Grammys, the women in this category are Dua Lipa, Bebe Rexha, Jorja Smith, Chloe x Halle, H.E.R., and Margo Price. Now all I need is a Best New Artist 6-way all-female performance mashup to make my Grammy dreams come true.
This isn’t something to bet on, but it will be interesting to see if, like many other awards ceremonies of the past couple years, there will be some sort of #MeToo or Time’s Up haze over the Grammysr. Not just because the music industry as a whole is desperately overdue for its #MeToo reckoning, but also from the heightened awareness of these issues brought on by Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary series and the even more recent the rape allegations against Chris Brown. The White Rose demonstration on last year’s red carpet was a step in the right direction, but it is also important to acknowledge that real change is about more than wearing a pin or flower on the carpet. I’m curious to see if any attention will be paid to the much needed conversation around sexual harassment and discrimination within the music world at large.
Well, that’s it for me! This has been fun, right? I’d love to hear your thoughts on my thoughts, so feel free to shoot me an email or @ me on social media. In all seriousness, I hope this column grows to become a real discussion between my fellow women in the #WCM community, so let’s get gossiping. See you next month!
Follow Chloe Cardio on Twitter & Instagram @ chlo_vah.
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