The 61st GRAMMY Awards: An Inch Closer to Progress?

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Kate Guthrie, Staff Writer

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      As host Alicia Keys introduced the 61st Grammy Awards alongside Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Jada Pinkett Smith, an overlapping theme emerged- music no matter the genre, no matter the artist, within a divided nation- unites us all. The former first lady noted that “Music allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in. Music shows us that all of it matters: every story within every voice, every note within every song”. Last year, the Grammy’s honed in on the power and sheer vitality of The Me Too movement; a movement that raises awareness about sexual assault and harassment within the workplace. Ironically, with the rise of this feminine empowerment, males dominated almost every category with only a few female winners. To note, only 9.3% of women were nominated between the years 2013-2018, meaning 90.3% of nominees were male. When asked about the lack of female representation in the top musical categories, Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow commented women need to “step up”.  This was clearly a poor choice of words yet they highlight that this lack of respect and representation is still permeating Hollywood and the world even in the 21st century.

       With the percentage of female winners up 82% from last year, 31 women took home a Grammy in 2019. Not only is this a significant numerical increase, but women also championed categories unconventional for female success. Rap artist Cardi B made history as the first solo female to win “Best Rap Album” and H.E.R claimed, “Best R&B Album” -both huge breakthroughs. Pop artist Dua Lipa won “Best New Artist” and Casey Musgrave won “Album of the Year” with Golden Hour. Females clearly commanded these top categories, a trend many hope continues for years to come. When accepting her award, Dua Lipa commented “I guess we have stepped up”, a clear shot at Portnow’s comment from last year. The future is female- how about, get rid of the future- because female progress is NOW, right in front of our eyes.