After a controversial past couple of years for the Grammys, with public outrage over the lack of inclusivity, many people were left wondering whether this year’s ceremony would prove to be any different.
With women, people of color and the LGBTQ+ community continuously being overshadowed in the music industry, it is no surprise that #GrammysSoMale was a trending hashtag after the show in 2018, a year where very few female artists were highlighted.
The controversy only continued when the Academy’s president, Neil Portnow, responded to this outrage by stating that women should “step up” if they wanted to gain more recognition.
The Recording Academy then began making efforts to diversify, donating over $50,000 to organizations that support women in the music industry, as well as implementing an equity and inclusion contract in 2019 that tracks representation. Many people found these efforts to be insincere, as the Academy only attempted to correct their wrongs after going viral on Twitter.
After tuning in to this year’s ceremony, it’s clear the Academy still has a long way to go in terms of eliminating discriminatory practices, especially those against women.
Even after the slew of misogynistic and transphobic comments that sparked controversy over the summer, DaBaby was still invited to perform at the pre-show ceremony. During the performance, he repeatedly made sexist remarks, asking women in the crowd to undress andexpose themselves. Though these comments mostly went ignored, many women in the audience emphasized how offensive and disrespectful DaBaby was during his set.
This was not the only event that caused women at the show discomfort. Both Marilyn Manson and Dave Chappelle were nominated for awards. Chappelle for Best Spoken Word Album for his performance “8:46,” and Manson for Album of the Year for his work on Kanye West’s album “Donda.”
Chappelle, a controversial comedian, came under fire for his 2020 comedy special where he makes transphobic, homophobic and sexist remarks. In the special, Chappelle not only jokes about sexual assault and the survivors of R. Kelly’s abuse, but also details an argument with a woman that he said made him want to “kill her and throw her in the trunk of my car.”
Manson also has had his fair share of media coverage centered around his mistreatment of women. Just last year, multiple women came forward accusing Manson of sexual assault, human trafficking and unlawful imprisonment, claiming that he would psychologically torture women by locking them in confined spaces for days on end.
Manson’s ex-fiancee, Ashley Morgan Smithline, led the lawsuit against Manson, detailing even more heinous crimes that she was forced to endure.
If the nominations alone weren’t enough to make you question the decisions of the Academy, Louis C.K., a man who admitted to sexual assaulting multiple women in 2017, took home a Grammy for Best Comedy Album.
When asked about the problematic nominees, CEO of the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason Jr. claimed that personal transgressions do not weigh in on eligibility.
Celebrating men with histories of sexism and even violence against women creates an environment where women are scared to speak up about injustices. By nominating and awarding these men for their creative endeavors, we are allowing them to continuously abuse and harm women in their day-to-day lives.
Next time you’re casting a vote or tuning into an awards show, remember that your choice matters.
Kaitlyn Chronowski is a fourth-year Media & Culture major. firstname.lastname@example.org