The latest installment in the backlash against Grammy president Neil Portnow’s now-rescinded statement calling for women to “step up” is a letter signed by 38 male music executives calling for more female representation at the awards show.
As pointed out by Variety, the letter was spearheaded by Tom Windish, an employee at Paradigm Talent Agency, which counts Lorde — the most notable female exception from performance time at this year’s Grammys — on their roster, and includes other agents, managers, and attorneys that exist in Windish’s close industry circle.
While the letter didn’t call for Portnow to step down from his position as was the call to action in a widespread petition, it did request that the Recording Academy “reveal the diversity (and/or the lack thereof) of its voting members and make necessary changes to the population of the Academy to better reflect the diverse music business voices the organization is meant to serve.” Check out the letter’s full text below.
Dear Mr. Neil Portnow and all members of The Recording Academy:
We are writing to stand alongside and in solidarity with the women who penned letters to you regarding gender disparity and ask that more significant and robust action be taken by The Recording Academy to answer their call.
From 2013 to 2018, of almost 900 Grammy nominations, 90% were male and less than 10% were female [per an Inclusion in Popular Music study from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism].
NARAS is meant to reflect all of the music industry and be “by the people and for the people.” Structural flaws in the makeup of The Recording Academy itself have led to systemic issues in the selection of nominees and winners for the awards. Now is the time for NARAS to lead and be transparent and dedicated to transforming its member base to truly mirror the rich gender and cultural diversity of our community. NARAS should reveal the diversity (and/or the lack thereof) of its voting members and make necessary changes to the population of the Academy to better reflect the diverse music business voices the organization is meant to serve.
We realize the entire music industry, ourselves included, has significant work to do to achieve gender and ethnic diversity. If NARAS aspires to be an authentic representation of our music industry, then now is the time for The Recording Academy to lead through balanced inclusivity. The Recording Academy has a responsibility to take aggressive steps in order to move forward for the greater good of our creative community.
We have faith that NARAS will rise to the task.
Still reeling from the backlash of his comments, Portnow announced last week that the Academy was forming a “task force” to address their problems with gender diversity. In an ideal world, we should see Lorde will nab some retroactive awards, though I doubt she’d even accept them.