Recording Academy Announces Task Force to Improve "Female Advancement" at Grammy Awards

#GrammysSoMale remains a topic of discussion in the music industry after Sunday's show

By Mike Vulpo Feb 02, 2018 12:53 AMTags
Neil Portnow, 2018 Grammy AwardsMichael Kovac/Getty Images for NARAS

Recording Academy President Neil Portnow appears ready to address gender bias head-on at the Grammy Awards.

Less than a week after viewers, fans and musicians alike spoke up about the lack of female winners on music's biggest night, changes may be on the horizon.

In a new statement, Neil addressed several topics making headlines. One of them was his controversial remarks that women need to "step up" to earn awards.

"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," he shared. "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."

Neil revealed that 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."

2018 Grammys Red Carpet Fashion
He promised music fans that more information will be revealed about the steps being taken to help address gender bias. "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," he said.;shortly before a group of female music-industry senior executives issued a letter calling for his resignation. In the letter obtained by Variety, the group made it clear that "time's up, Neil."

"The statement you made this week about women in music needing to 'step up' was spectacularly wrong and insulting and, at its core, oblivious to the vast body of work created by and with women. Your attempt to backpedal only emphasizes your refusal to recognize us and our achievements," the letter stated. "Your most recent remarks do not constitute recognition of women's achievements, but rather a call for men to take action to 'welcome' women. We do not await your welcome into the fraternity. We do not have to sing louder, jump higher or be nicer to prove ourselves."

Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry and Pink have spoken out against Neil's "Step Up" comments on social media.

In addition, Vanessa Carlton has voiced her support for an online petition that asks Neil to step down from his role. It has received more than 13,000 supporters.