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Women dominated the 2024 Grammy Awards. Is the tide turning?

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When the 2024 Grammy nominees were first announced, women dominated the top categories. And on Sunday’s show, those nominations translated into wins: Every televised competitive Grammy went to at least one woman.

Several women won their first Grammy Awards, including Miley Cyrus, Victoria Monét, best new artist, Lainey Wilson and Karol G, also the first woman to win best urban music, a moment that may reflect changing perceptions about reggaetón and Latin hip-hop. hop as exclusively “men’s music.”

“You know, I feel a lot of responsibility for that. As a woman I have to say, as in my experience, it was hard, like so many things, to be a girl in this industry, in the music I make, in urban music,” said the “Mañana Sera Bonito” artist. she told The Associated Press backstage, saying she also reflected “the women in the world who fight to represent” themselves.

Paramore became the first female-fronted rock band to win best rock album. And Taylor Swift, of course, not only made history by becoming the first artist to win album of the year four times, but she also remains the only woman to win more than twice.

“First of all, I think it’s wonderful to see so many women at the top,” Dua Lipa told the AP on the red carpet, moments before opening the show with a fiery medley.

“What we want is just an equal space in the industry and to be seen equally on equal levels, not only on the creative side but also on the business side, so we hope that equality in the industry will level things up a little bit.” she added. “I think we’re still figuring that part out. But we are getting there, little by little.”

The evidence points to what Lipa is referring to: Only 19.5% of all songwriters of Billboard Hot 100 songs in 2023 were women, according to an analysis by USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. Women still represent a fraction of producers and engineers.

But at the Grammys, where much of the attention is focused on the artists, it seemed like women dominated the industry.

boygenius’ Phoebe Bridgers won her first Grammy Awards last night, taking home more than any other artist, with four.

In the week before the Grammys, Bridgers told the AP that the band’s recognition had some significance because “it was only a couple of years ago that this (expletive) who is now being accused of sexual violence said that women should Take a step forward”. Prepare it if you want to be nominated.”

She was referring to former Recording Academy president Neil Portnow, who, in 2018, said women needed to “step up” if they wanted to receive Grammy Awards and later apologized. He resigned in 2019. In November 2023, Portnow was sued by a woman who said he drugged and raped her in 2018, an allegation her representative called “completely false.”

Bridgers renewed her criticism backstage at the Grammys, telling the press room, while holding one of her four trophies, that she hopes he “rots.”

The Recording Academy has made considerable changes to its programming in the years since Portnow, attempting to better reflect the current musical climate. Recently, more than 2,400 music creators joined the voting bloc; Of those new additions, 50% are people of color, 46% are under 40 years old, and 37% are women.

In January, Recording Academy CEO and President Harvey Mason Jr. She theorized that the number of women nominated was “a direct result of a lot of the changes we’ve been making at the academy,” something Swift echoed as she accepted her first award of the night.

“I know that the way the Recording Academy voted is a direct reflection of the passion of the fans,” he said.

The question then is: was this year a coincidence? The result of a stellar year of women who couldn’t be ignored? A correction? Symbolic of some systemic change? Or something completely different?

The only real televised criticism came from Jay-Z, the only male solo awardee on the telecast (Finneas also won a televised Grammy, along with his sister, Billie Eilish). His Dr. Dre Global Impact Award acceptance speech began by shouting out the rap legends who came before him, those who worked to bring hip-hop to the preeminent music awards show, only for the rap categories to fail. appeared on the official broadcast on Sunday. .

“We want everyone to do well,” Jay Z said in his speech. “At least make it closer to right.”

She then shifted the focus to Beyoncé, who last year became the most decorated artist in Grammy history, with 32 trophies.

“Most Grammys never won album of the year. “How does it work?” he said of his wife. “Even by your own metrics, it doesn’t work.”

Emily Lordi, a professor at Vanderbilt University whose focus is African American literature and black popular music, says there is value in examining the intersections of race and feminism at the Grammys.

This year, two women: SZA, for her groundbreaking and critically acclaimed “SOS,” and Janelle Monae, for her groundbreaking treatise on sensuality and freedom “The Age of Pleasure,” were nominated for album of the year. If one of them had taken it home, the winner would have become the first black woman to do so since Lauryn Hill with “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” in 1999.

Lordi says that the album “suggests a residual and very flawed view of black women’s music as ‘niche,'” even though “black women have fundamentally influenced all genres of American music, so the Billie Eilish’s vocal style is a direct descendant of Billie Holiday’s aesthetic, just as Miley is made possible by Tina Turner and Taylor by Tracy Chapman.”

Janelle Monae, who has 10 career nominations, did not win a Grammy and has never won one. SZA, who led the nominations with nine, took home three awards but was completely shut out of the overall categories.

There’s a lot to celebrate about the 2024 Grammys, including its focus on female artists, something that wouldn’t have seemed possible in 2011, when the Grammys still had gender-specific awards.

But, Lordi notes, “as we champion women’s representation, we must also continue to think intersectionally and critically about which women are being honored and why.”

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Associated Press writers Leslie Ambriz and Gary Gerard Hamilton contributed reporting.

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For more information on the 2024 Grammys, visit https://apnews.com/hub/grammy-awards

Maria Sherman, Associated Press

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