Recording Academy President Neil Portnow faced criticism Monday for his remarks after the 60th annual Grammy Awards ended with only two female winners on stage.
Following the awards show Sunday, many music fans and critics questioned whether the Time's Up movement was just given lip service when the only woman nominated for album of the year, Lorde, didn't perform. Instead, multiple minutes on the telecast was given to male artists who weren't nominated, such as Sting and the band U2.
While the red carpet was filled with artists sporting white roses to symbolize support of gender equality, backstage after the show wrapped Portnow was questioned about Lorde's absence from the stage, as well as the fact that only two women were shown on TV accepting awards.
"It has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and their souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, who want to be producers, who want to be part of the industry on an executive level, to step up," Portnow said backstage after the show. "Because I think they would be welcome. I don't have personal experience of those kind of brick walls that you face. It's us as an industry making a welcome mat very obvious — creating mentorships, creating opportunities for all people who want to be creative, and, really, paying it forward, and creating that next generation of artists who feel like they can do anything, say anything."
Criticism for Portnow's comments was swift. Grammy-winning singer Sheryl Crow tweeted Monday: "I wish the #Grammys would return to female/male 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). #GrammysSoMale"