Sexism at the Grammys?

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2018 file photo, Camila Cabello introduces a performance by U2 at the 60th annual Grammy Awards in New York. Cabello, Cardi B, Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5, Charlie Puth and the Backstreet Boys will perform on the fifth annual iHeartRadio Music Awards on March 11. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

The Grammys are awards given by The Recording Academy and are “peer-presented award[s] to honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position."

This past Sunday, the awards ceremony expressed its support for sexual assault and rape victims and paid particular attention to the feminist movement and its place in modern American politics. Despite the support they expressed in the ceremony, The Recording Company distributed a very minimal amount of Grammy awards to female artists. With all the inspiring women nominees whose music conveys an empowering message to young girls, Grammy awards went out to mediocre artists such as Bruno Mars.

Bruno Mars received six Grammys this past weekend (Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance). This excessive amount of awards were given to Mars despite the lack of inspiration in his lyrics and Hollywood persona. His romantic lyrics do not embody the theme of women empowerment the ceremony was trying to present this year.

Instead of rewarding figures that convey a meaningful message to girls and sexual abuse victims, The Recording Academy applauded Bruno Mars’s unevolving music career that has only taken off because of its romanticization of relationships to make women feel in need of companionship. The few women nominees that were up for the same awards as Mars had much more empowering lyrics and stories that express self-fulfillment to fans, but were not rewarded at all for their powerful influence.

Kesha, for example, gave an outstanding performance from her new album that brought viewers to tears. She expressed her ability to overcome sexual assault by her record producer Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald, also known as Dr. Luke. She and dozens of other women artists performed the song “Praying” from her new album “Rainbow,” in which she writes about her emotional recovery from the ongoing sexual abuse and rape she underwent to inspire other victims and empower womankind. While she was a nominee for two Grammys, she was overlooked and the awards were given to male artists.

Camilla Cabello, a upcoming pop artist from Cuba, has been open about her inspiring story growing up in Havana and coming to America to start anew. She proudly exclaimed her parents were illegal immigrants and had a very difficult time making a living in the United States and thanked them for bringing her to America, where she became successful. Her story is also expressed in her song “Havana” ft. Young Thug, which inspired many girls and minorities to strive to succeed in the fields of their choice, but she was not even a nominee for any award on Sunday.

Contrary to popular belief, Cardi B’s success as one of very few women rappers is inspiring to many girls who want to make it as musicians. Cardi’s arduous past as a nightclub dancer and reality show TV star conveys to fans that anyone can make it big in Hollywood, regardless of socioeconomic standing and social privilege. Cardi B’s riveting performance alongside Bruno Mars was one of the most entertaining components of the ceremony, yet she, too, did not receive any awards.


Keren Blaunstein is a weekly columnist for The Daily Campus.  She can be reached via email at keren.blaunstein@uconn.edu.