The 60th Grammy Awards program progressed smoothly with the drama meter kept at a minimum at Madison Square Garden. On the other side of the television screen, however, drama readings were off the charts as viewers of the prestigious music awards ceremony were outraged by the outcome of the event.
Gender equality was off to a good start as many stars who appeared on the red carpet showed support for the #TimesUp movement by donning a white rose as a sign of protest against sexual violence, assault, and harassment in the workplace. But as the night progressed, viewers have noticed one glaring problem: The Grammy Awards wasn't as progressive as it was made out to be. For a night that was supposedly about empowering women and embracing their work, there sure weren't a lot of female artists who dominated the awards.
Of the five nominees for Best New Artist, Alessia Cara emerged victorious which kind of gives womankind one point at the awards show. Critical viewers, however, were not supportive of the result, arguing that Alessia Cara had been in the music scene longer than any of the other nominees (with her debut album released waaay back in 2015) and that SZA was more deserving for the fact that she'd had a bigger presence in the music scene of 2017 than Alessia.
To add salt to the wound, SZA, who brought three generations of her family to the awards show, was the most-nominated female artist of 2018 and yet was shut out of each of the five Grammy awards she was up for, leaving Madison Square Garden without a single gramophone.
We all love Bruno Mars songs as much as the next person but that doesn't mean we're okay with him winning Album of the Year. Fans feel as if Mars basically swiped the Grammy out of Lorde's hands and we understand—Melodrama had so much more depth and raw emotion than 24K Magic ever did.
What hurts more is that Lorde, the only female nominated for said category, was not offered the opportunity to perform solo during the show unlike the other Album of the Year nominees. According to news websites, she had been offered a spot in the tribute to Tom Petty instead, which she gracefully declined. We're all so glad that Lorde knows her worth, and we could only hope that the Grammy Awards realize that early on.
Finally, 60th Grammy Awards absentee Ed Sheeran appears to be in hot water after his album Divide won Best Pop Vocal Album over Lana Del Rey's Lust For Life, Ke$ha's comeback album Rainbow, and Lady Gaga's Joanne, which, despite mixed reviwes, still showcases her unmatched versatility as an artist.
And still adding fuel to the fire, Ed, the only male artist nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance, won over Kelly Clarkson's "Love So Soft," Lady Gaga's "Million Reasons," P!nk's "What About Us" and, most importantly, Ke$ha's "Praying!"
Nearly everyone had been rooting for Ke$ha, who seemed to be the most relevant nominee of the night given her courtroom battle against Dr. Luke and the white rose movement on the red carpet. Twitter was bursting with anger when Ke$ha's battle cry in the form of a song called "Praying" lost to a "mediocre" love song, especially after she delivered a powerful and very emotional live performance during the same night, sharing the stage with the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, and Bebe Rexha.
A few days before the prestigious awards show, a study led by Stacy L. Smith provided a breakdown of Grammy Awards nominees, and it showed that female artists only made up for 9.3% of all the nominees from the year 2013 to 2018.
So, maybe the fact that we only saw two women (Alessia Cara, who bagged Best New Artist, and Rihanna, who split the Best Rap/Sung Performance with Kendrick Lamar for their track "Loyalty," and not including the late Carrie Fisher who won Best Spoken Word Album) walk up the stage to accept their win out of all 32 televised categories shouldn't be surprising. However, it is still disheartening and should serve as a wake up call. It seems that we have a hundred million reasons to walk away from the music industry, and gender equality is that one good one reason to stay. So, get on it, peeps. ASAP. (@RecordingAcad, we're looking straight at ya.)
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Banner Photography from Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS