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Rocknation's Journal
Rocknation's Journal
February 12, 2018

Nowhere near presidential enough

The first African-blooded United States president is placed in what is essentially a jungle? And while the artist did manage to capture and project his essence, he's been colored an oompah loompah orange.

The painting of Michelle, meanwhile (I cannot consider it a portrait) comes across as the work of an earnest but wall paint-supplied junior high schooler: it's two-dimensional, the dress is the star of the show, and doesn't resemble her in the least.


February 1, 2018

The 2018 Grammys: a big show of supporting women that didn't support women

Vox.com: “Coming up: a powerful Grammys moment from Kesha that speaks to our times!” the announcer chirped. A couple hours deep into the ceremony, this performance had been promoted all night as The One to Watch...Janelle Monáe...insisted with steady conviction that “time’s up” for abuse of women in the music industry...(T)he CBS-produced Grammys held up Kesha’s “powerful” performance as remarkable without acknowledging...(the) sexual violence that’s been ricocheting throughout industries for the past several months. The ceremony remained stubbornly, purposefully vague, because getting any more specific would mean indicting not just the man Kesha says abused her, but the entire system that keeps men like him in power.

This maddening attempt to have it both ways was echoed throughout the 2018 Grammys ceremony...Lorde was the only woman nominated for Album of the Year, which was made more conspicuous by the fact that she was one of the few nominees who didn’t perform. She reportedly turned down an offer to share her slot for a Tom Petty tribute performance of “American Girl.” (Lorde is from New Zealand.)...Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich insisted that “there’s no way we can really deal with everybody,” despite giving U2 and Sting — neither of whom were nominated this year — multiple performances, both solo and collaborative...

When asked why more women weren’t rewarded for their work, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow shrugged that they need “to step up...”

Variety (Portnow): “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. I don’t have personal experience of those kinds of brick walls that you face but I think it’s upon us — us as an industry — to make the welcome mat very obvious, breeding opportunities for all people who want to be creative and paying it forward and creating that next generation of artists.”

Glamour: Yes, you read that correctly. Portnow thinks women weren't awarded at the Grammys Sunday because they haven't "stepped up" to the plate—whatever that means...(W)omen have been stepping up for decades. There's just an institutional bias in the music industry toward male artists. Their work is viewed as more valuable, and that's why they keep winning year after year.

Pink echoed this in an open letter to Portnow that she posted (to Twitter): “Women in music don’t need to ‘step up’—women have been stepping since the beginning of time," she wrote. "Stepping up, and also steppin aside. 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.”

...The only woman who won a major award was Alessia Cara for Best New Artist. Four women were nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance, but Ed Sheeran—the only male nominee in that category—won the honor. Women, more or less, were completely shut out of the show, which for many was both confusing and infuriating.

Variety:...(W)hen asked...whether it was a mistake to not give Album of the Year nominee Lorde an onstage moment, Ehrlich answered: “I don’t know if it was a mistake. These shows are a matter of choices. We have a box and it gets full. She had a great album. There’s no way we can really deal with everybody.”

One of the Best Album nominees, Jay-Z, declined to preform (most likely because he wasn't guaranteed a win), so there WAS "room in the box" for Lourde. And since Alissa's debut album was released in late November of 2015, it shouldn't have been eligible, as it had a one-year head start over the others.

GoldenDerby: Following an onslaught of criticism, Portnow issued a clarification of his remarks on Jan. 30: “Regrettably, I used two words, ‘step up,’ that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make. Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced. We must actively work to eliminate these barriers and encourage women to live their dreams and express their passion and creativity through music. We must welcome, mentor, and empower them. Our community will be richer for it.”

If "the Academy" is too logistically incompetent or socially tone-deaf to realize that the 2018 Grammy ceremony was a textbook example of "not a good look" for them, then people "stepping up" is not the solution -- people "stepping DOWN" is.


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