Today Recording Academy President Neil Portnow issued a statement in which he states his commitment to ending gender bias with the Academy. This comes in the wake of much controversy surrounding the representation of women at award show which aired this past Sunday, January 28th.
Criticism has been thrown at the Academy for its lack of female nominees, with the Album of the Year category, for example, featuring only one female nomination, that being Lorde for Melodrama. Notable as well is the fact that Lorde was the only Album of the Year nominee to not perform live, reported out of protest as she was offered a shorter amount of time on stage the male performers.
Sometime later, Portnow addressed these concerns to Variety magazine and, in an admittedly “poor choice of words”, claimed that women need to “step up”. He has since apologized for his phrasing and has now announced that an independent task force will be created by the Academy in an effort to find and eliminate any gender bias they find. In this statement, issued earlier today, Portnow also acknowledges that gender bias is an issue in the music industry as a whole and commits himself, and the Academy, to stopping it.
Below you will find the full statement from Neil Portnow, the President of the Recording Academy.
To The Music Community—
After hearing from many friends and colleagues, I understand the hurt that my poor choice of words following last Sunday’s GRAMMY telecast has caused. I also now realize that it’s about more than just my words. Because those words, while not reflective of my beliefs, echo the real experience of too many women. I’d like to help make that right.
The Recording Academy is establishing an independent task force to review every aspect of what we do as an organization and identify where we can do more to overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community. We will also place ourselves under a microscope and tackle whatever truths are revealed.
I appreciate that the issue of gender bias needs to be addressed in our industry, and share in the urgency to attack it head on. We as an organization, and I as its leader, pledge our commitment to doing that. We will share more information about the steps we are taking in the coming weeks.
President/CEO of the Recording Academy