Showstoppers of the Music Industry: Women Lead the Grammy’s Most Pivotal Moments

Image: CNN

The annual Grammy Awards, which took place this year in New York City, celebrated today’s leaders, innovators, and change-makers in the music industry. While male artists like Kendrick Lamar and Bruno Mars swept a majority of the evening’s awards, women also took center stage to address some of today’s most pressing social issues – despite a notable lack of women nominees and winners. From Janelle Monae’s moving speech, to Pink’s response to the Recording Academy president,  read some of the major highlights of the evening where women showed up, showed out and spoke up.

Janelle Monae’s Delivers Passionate Solidarity Speech

Singer and actor Janelle Monae, gave a strong speech against of sexual misconduct and gender inequality in entertainment and across industries. Referencing the women’s social movement #TimesUp, Monae gave an inspirational speech about the power of a “united music industry” and shared her support of fellow women in the music industry as she introduced Kesha’s poignant performance of “Praying.” She said, “Tonight, I am proud to stand in solidarity as not just an artist but a young woman with my fellow sisters in this room who make up the music industry: artists, writers, assistants, publicists, CEO, producers, engineers and women from all sectors of the business.”

View more in the speech below:

“We come in peace, but we mean business.”

Kesha’s Powerful #MeToo Moment

Pop singer Kesha gave an emotional performance of her single “Praying” alongside singers Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Andra Day, Julia Michaels and Bebe Rexha and the Resistance Revival Chorus. Two years ago, Kesha publicly accusing her then-producer Dr. Luke of emotional, physical, sexual abuse, all of which he denied. After her legal motion to be contractually released from him was denied, an uproar of support from fellow artist and advocates arose. In this powerful performance at the 2018 Grammy’s, Kesha displayed triumph and strength as she stood up for herself and other women of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

Hillary Clinton Cleverly Mocks President Trump

“Some people don’t know this, but you don’t always need to be a musician to win a Grammy. In fact, every year, the Recording Academy has honored the best spoken word album,” explained host James Corden to viewers. He then introduces a pre-recorded segment of the show where celebrities participated in a fake audition to read a version of “Fire and Fury,” an explosive account by Michael Wolff that described chaos in the White House during the Trump Administration.

Alongside the likes of Cardi B and and John Legend, former Secretary of State and 2017 Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton read an excerpt of the book and poked fun at current President Trump.

Met by cheers of surprise by the crown, Clinton reads, “He had a longtime fear of being poisoned “One reason why he likes to eat at McDonald’s. Nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely pre-made.”


P!nk’s Response to Recording Academy president’s “Women Need to Step Up” Comments

The 2018 Grammy’s were glaringly missing the presence of women performance, nominees, and winners. Despite the show’s effort to produce a diverse and inclusive program, male artists dominated the evening with only one of the nine major categories being awarded to a woman. As a result, #GrammysSoMale was trending on Twitter as the Recording Academy received a large amount of criticism and backlash.

In response to this criticism, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow spoke to Variety saying “It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level… [They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome.”

Singer P!nk responded with a handwritten letter stating “Women in music don’t need to ‘step up’—women have been stepping since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside.” She continued, “Women owned music this year. They’ve been killing it. And every year before this.”

“When we celebrate and honor the talent and accomplishments of women, and how much women step up every year, against all odds, we show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal and what it looks like to be fair.”

Rachel Hampton

Communications and Special Projects Associate

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Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.