The Grammys have announced plans to form an independent task force to address biases against women in the music industry. The move comes from the Recording Academy, which organises the awards, after female artists won in just 17 of 86 categories at the recent awards ceremony, and only one of the categories shown during the live television broadcast.

In response to the imbalance, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said that women needed to “step up”. He was widely criticised for his remarks, and expressed his regret at failing to convey “the point I was trying to make”.

On Thursday Portnow issued a second statement announcing that a new task force would review “every aspect of what we do as an organisation and identify where we can do more to overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community”. He stated that the Recording Academy would examine its own practices “and tackle whatever truths are revealed”.

Portnow’s initial remarks have led to calls for his resignation. A group of leading female music industry figures, including Pharrell Williams’ manager, Caron Veazey, shared an open letter addressing the Grammys’ failure to recognise the structural industry inequality reflected in the makeup of the Recording Academy board. “We do not await your welcome into the fraternity,” they wrote. “We do not have to sing louder, jump higher or be nicer to prove ourselves.”

A number of pop artists have also criticised Portnow and the Grammys, including Pink, Lorde, Charli XCX, Katy Perry, Sheryl Crow, Haim, Tegan and Sara and Vanessa Carlton.

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The 60th Grammy awards was held on 28 January in New York City. The night’s biggest winner was Hawaii-born Bruno Mars, who won six awards including best album for 24K Magic. Jay-Z was the night’s most nominated artist, but won none of his eight categories. Emerging R&B star SZA was the most nominated female artist, up for five awards, but also failed to take home an award.


Credit: Guardian

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