Pink Among Artists Slamming Grammys Boss For 'Step Up' Comment

Pop star Pink is among those firing back at the head of the Grammys after he said female artists need to “step up.”

Asked about the #GrammysSoMale complaints, Neil Portnow said: “It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level… [They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome.”

In a handwritten note shared on Twitter, Pink responded: ‘Women in music don’t need to ‘step up’ – women have been stepping since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside,” she wrote.

“Women owned music this year. They’ve been killing it. And every year before this. When we celebrate and honour the talent and accomplishments of women, and how much women step up every year, against all odds, we show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal and what it looks like to be fair.”

Katy Perry tweeted support for Pink’s stand. “Another powerful woman, leading by example. We ALL have a responsibility to call out the absurd lack of equality everywhere we see it. I'm proud of ALL the women making incredible art in the face of continual resistance.”

On Twitter, Halsey called Portnow’s comment “absurd” but said it’s a broader problem. “Female artists came HARD in 2017,” she wrote. “But the nominees are selected by peers and their opinion of the music. Which means it’s a conversation about the standards of which the ENTIRE INDUSTRY expects women to uphold.

“Maybe it’s nepotism and our opinion / votes don’t actually matter. Maybe it’s selected by the Grammy board members in the end. Maybe it’s all a sham. I just really wish I got to see justice and fairness and ONE woman winning a televised award is bulls**t.”

Charli XCX tweeted “women are making AMAZING music right now wtf is this dude talking about?” While Iggy Azalea suggested women not show up to next year’s Grammy’s. “See how that works out for Neil,” she wrote.

“Well,” read a tweet from Canada’s Tegan and Sara. “At least the music industry is consistent across North America in putting the blame on women for not being nominated.”

On Sunday’s Grammys show, Canada’s Alessia Cara was the only female to win in a major category (Rihanna shared an award with Kendrick Lamar). Pre-show winners included Reba McEntire, Aimee Mann, Lisa Loeb and the late Carrie Fisher.

Overall, less than a quarter of the 84 Grammys handed out went to women, or a group with at least one woman.

Sheryl Crow suggested a return to gender-specific categories. “Who will young girls be inspired by to pick up a guitar and rock when most every category is filled with men? I'm not sure it is about women needing to ‘step up’, (as said by the male in charge),” she opined.

Writer Rachel Syme tweeted: “The head of the grammys telling women to ‘step up’ when they put kesha on stage to perform her pain in front of the room that won't release her from her contract is as rich and sour as week-old moldy clotted cream.” Songwriter Dave Farah tweeted: “Hey, Neil, shut up.”

To be fair, Portnow went on to say: "I don’t have personal experience of those kinds of brick walls that you face but I think it’s upon us — us as an industry — to make the welcome mat very obvious.”

Singer-songwriter Kailey Nicole tweeted: "I can't wait to watch a woman 'step up' and replace Neil Portnow.”