Ella Yelich-O’Connor, better known as Lorde, was nominated for Album of the Year in the 2018 Grammy awards for her album Melodrama. However, she didn’t perform at the awards ceremony. It was confirmed that the four male nominees for Album of the Year, Jay-Z, Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino, were offered a solo spot to perform a song or melody from their respective albums while Lorde was asked to perform in a group tribute to Tom Petty to which she declined. Jay-Z also declined the offer to perform while the other nominees have been confirmed.
In response to the snub Lorde’s mother Sonja Yelich drew attention to a New York Times article addressing the well-known lack of diversity that the Grammy awards has showcased in the past. The article states that among 899 people nominated in the last 6 Grammy Awards, an appalling 9 per cent were women. The lack of diversity was recognised throughout the industry, with artists such as Frank Ocean refusing to submit his music to the 2017 awards. Debate in the past has surrounded racial inclusion, but this year the spotlight is shining directly on the gender inclusion that has really made an impact on the music community.
Introducing Kesha at the awards ceremony, Janelle Monae summed it up perfectly: “We come in peace but we mean business. And to those who would dare try to silence us, we offer you two words – Time’s Up. We say Time’s Up for pay and equality. Time’s Up for discrimination. Time’s Up for harassment, of any kind, and Time’s Up for the abuse of power. Because you see, it’s not just going on in Hollywood, it’s not just going on in Washington, it’s right here in our industry as well.
“And just as we have the power to shape culture, we also have the power to undo the culture that does not serve us well. So let’s work together. Women and men, as a united music industry committed to creating more safe work environments, equal pay and access for all women.”
Rare Birds strongly advocates for equal representation for men and women on pages and stages, and last year launched Rare Birds Speak: the first full-service speakers agency to represent only women. For more information, look here.