(AllHipHop News) Recent comments by Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow have been hit with widespread backlash. After Alessia Cara became the only female winner to receive a 2018 Grammy Award during the televised portion of the event, Portnow responded by suggesting women in the industry needed to “step up” if they wanted to be recognized.
The former record label executive eventually walked back his words, but that did not prevent a petition calling for his removal to gain over 13,000 signatures. Stars such as Pink, Sheryl Crow, and Vanessa Carlton slammed the Recording Academy head on social media as well.
Four-time Grammy winner India.Arie joined the chorus of artists addressing Neil Portnow’s “step up” statement. The singer-songwriter dedicated her 2018 performance of “I Am Light” to “being worthy,” and she also wrote an open letter about the situation.
Read India.Arie’s letter below.
In this performance, “Worthy” is behind me on this stage, because it is my favorite word, my mantra, my life’s philosophy. I KNOW NOW, with NO uncertainty, that regardless of the lack of compassion and fairness that the world shows us at times, That I AM WORTHY! WE ALL ARE.
My favorite definition of this word is: deserving of regard and respect.
And anytime someone comes to treat me as less, I know THEY are mistaken.
Neil Portnow is mistaken. His statements are a mess, but I get why he can’t empathize with women and women of color. HE is saying, the more women there are, the more chances women have to WIN. BUT. WE NEED MORE WOMEN, more WOMEN OF COLOR AND MORE INCLUSIVE MINDED PEOPLE in positions of power, in the rooms where decisions are made. When this happens, doors will open for women to be represented in more DIVERSE WAYS. The music industry is dominated by white men and the Grammys and NARAS are run and produced by ONLY white men. The fact that Portnow says we’d “be welcomed” indicates that he doesn’t think we’re part of the household to begin with.