Some notes on Kesha, Grammy mansplaining & #GrammysSoMale

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards as seen on CBS.

The same year that Ed Sheeran won a Grammy for a rip-off of TLC was the same year that Ed Sheeran won in a category in which all the other nominees were women. Kesha was in that category, for her song “Praying,” the song about all of the sh-t she went through with her predatory, abusive producer Dr. Luke. Kesha was given the space and time to perform “Praying” on the Grammys and it was incredibly moving:

Kesha has been through hell. Not just the hell of abuse, sexual assault, a public gaslighting and emotional abuse, she’s also been through the ringer legally and financially, fighting to separate herself and her catalogue from Dr. Luke. It was a powerful moment on stage at the Grammys, in front of a lot of music industry professionals who looked the other way when Dr. Luke was abusing her, and when she was fighting for her catalogue, and fighting to be free of her abuser in every way.

And still, the song didn’t win anything. They gave the Grammy to Ed Sheeran. In fact, all of the major Grammy Awards went to men, which is probably why #GrammysSoMale is now trending on Twitter. It’s not just that Kesha performed and then James Corden mansplained her performance afterwards. It’s not that Kesha lost to Ed Bloody Sheeran. It’s not that Lorde – an Album of the Year nominee, the only woman in that category – wasn’t asked to perform solo at the Grammys. It’s all of that and more, it’s how the music industry devalues women. It’s how the priority for the Grammys was Bono (who recently said music was “too girly” these days), Shaggy, Sting and various beardy country artists.

The only female winner presented with a Grammy Award on Sunday night? Alessia Cara, who took home Best New Artist. Recording Academy president Neil Portnow was asked by Variety about #GrammysSoMale and had this to say:

“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.”

Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich deflected when asked the same question. “It’s not for me to talk about,” he said. “I produce the TV show.” As for 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 has to wonder if the attendance of Taylor Swift would have made a difference. Said Ehrlich: “It wasn’t her year. She was kind of off cycle. Hopefully we’ll see her next year.”

[From Variety]

How f–king stupid. When asked about their sexist decision-making process for the Grammys, the the president and producer both blamed women for not wanting it enough, for not being men, for not being Taylor Swift, for daring to expect to be treated with the same f–king artistic courtesy they gave SHAGGY.

Kesha’s suit is by Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors, just FYI.

60th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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73 Responses to “Some notes on Kesha, Grammy mansplaining & #GrammysSoMale”

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  1. Hoopjumper says:

    Also, that Ed Sheeran song was just awful.

    • Penelope says:

      That song is just terrible; agreed. In fact, I can’t stand his crappy music, period. What a travesty.

    • cleveland girl says:

      The minute Ed Sheeran won that award was the minute I changed the station. It was an OUTRAGE.

  2. littlemissnaughty says:

    Shaggy is still alive?

  3. tifzlan says:

    I didn’t watch the show, just looked up the different performances on Twitter and Kesha’s was beautiful. She really bas been through hell and back, and the industry should be ashamed of themselves – if that’s even possible for them to feel.

    All the points of this article aside tho, i felt hurt reading what you said about “beardy country artists” because Chris Stapleton was and is a truly talented artist. Leave him out of this 😭

    Also how was James Corden last night? He was another reason i did not watch.

    • Fisher7777 says:

      Thank you for this. Love Chris Stapleton and think he’s one of the most talented artists to come around in a very long time. .

      • tifzlan says:

        I don’t even like country but Chris Stapleton and especially Sturgill Simpson deseeeerve EVERY accolade they get. They are BEYOND.

    • Lela says:

      I expected this to happen and did not watch as boycott. The Grammy’s has been tone deaf for too long and I for one will not ever watch the show.

    • Renee says:

      @ tifzlan, YES! I love Chris Stapleton & Sturgill. They are both so talented. Their performances on SNL this past weekend were incredible.

      And yes to the question of how James Cordon got hosting duties? I don’t get it.

  4. Miles says:

    The thing that kills me is that Ed acted like a sore loser and was still rewarded for being a sore loser. He went on about how he wasnt nominated because of his race which I’m shocked the media did not pick up on it. Oh wait no I’m not shocked. He’s a white male so his actions and words are pushed to the curb. Imagine if a woman acted like him. Any woman. Heck even Taylor Swift. Imagine if one of them didn’t show up because they didn’t get nominated for the big awards and then tried to explain that they weren’t nominated because they were white. We all know the Grammy’s would have blacklisted them. I mean they treated sore loser Ed better than they treated AOTY nominee Lorde. This is why the Grammy’s needs to just be ignored. For the rest of the time.

    • H says:

      I always knew there was a reason I disliked Ed, besides his crappy music, and now I have one. Poor, poor, privileged Ed.

      • Shambles says:

        My instincts have also consistently told me that he is the absolute WORST (the trash tattoos, sh!t music, and Taylor Swift friendship didn’t help him either), so it’s nice to know exactly why that is.

    • Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

      Sheeran has always been a sore loser – his head is so far up his ass with his white make privilege. Plus TLC are not the first band he’s ripped off.

    • Lela says:

      Sore loser and copycat. He’s made a lot of payoffs during his career for copying other. less know artists’ melodies. He’s a crock and I wish more people would stop supporting him .

    • Falum says:

      He never said he wasn’t nominated because of race, Miles. Why are you starting shit? He simply said it wasn’t his year and that nominations were bigger than him. He even said he thought Kendrick would win even before the nominations were released. There is enough drama in this world without you creating stuff that isn’t there.

      • Miles says:

        Lol he alluded to it

        This is from Billboard when he was asked:
        “There’s a very clear reason why that happened and it’s bigger than me, like much bigger than me, and like it’s just something that, again, it was just meant to be, that is the way that this year was meant to roll out,” he says.

        He didn’t say it wasn’t his year. He said he didn’t get a nomination because of something much bigger than him aka GrammysSoWhite

      • Veronica says:

        Holy shit, did he really say that? Talk about not even coding that subtlety. Jesus, just say it wasn’t your year and go home and have comfort sex with your fiancèe on that pile of money you’re living large on.

  5. Dorothy#1 says:

    She did an amazing job! I teared up a little.

    • Giddy says:

      She was incredible. Hers is the performance being talked about today, not insipid Ed.

    • PPP says:

      In the middle of all this #metoo, it’s amazing we’re not talking about Kesha more. Because we have watched Kesha do exactly what she was supposed to do– speak out to the authorities, go to court, and not even try to get justice, just a legal solution that didn’t require her to work with her rapist. She has gotten knocked down so many times and keeps getting up and you can see the hell it is. I can’t believe that when people ask “Why don’t you go to the authorities? Why don’t you pursue a legal solution instead of going public on social media? Why do you remain silent?” we don’t respond:


      It’s such a huge, obvious, recent example of everything that goes wrong when you try to do the right thing, it is incredible that she is barely ever mentioned in these talks. I truly hope this performance inspires a number of think pieces about what she went through and a public reckoning about how we responded to watching that brave ass woman go through hell and back for NOTHING.

  6. NameChange says:

    That song is amazing. She poured her heart and soul into it.

  7. Christina says:

    I didn’t watch the Grammys last night, but I had a feeling Kesha performed because her song was back in the top 10 on iTunes this morning. I really think she should have won.

    • Lahdidahbaby says:

      I agree. But the Grammys are a travesty in so many ways that they have become irrelevant as arbiters of musical worth. They are simply a showcase for male privilege.

  8. Aerohead21 says:

    Idk how true it is, but I heard that Elton John pitched a mega fit about Ed Sheeran and demanding he get something. Apparently Elton John is/was Ed Sheeran’s mentor?? This was on a local radio station.

  9. Nicole says:

    I swear men can just be…ugh.
    I was in tears thinking about how Kesha had to stand and perform that song in a room full of her “friends” who couldn’t be bothered with her in the last few years. Her notable supporters are mostly women (a few men like Jack who offered to write her songs for free). I cannot imagine the courage it took for her to be that bare. And to lose to Ed Sheeran was an insult. Kinda how I felt about Gaga losing the Oscars to Sam Smith when she blew the roof off and Sam was mediocre at best.
    Grammys so Male is right. Although I think Kendrick and Jay Z put out some of the best consistent music this year you’re telling me that no women had notable music? SZA has one of the best albums of the year and nothing?
    I’m glad that my industry doesn’t rely on these type of awards.

  10. grabbyhands says:

    How f*cking tone deaf do you have to be to tell a room full of reporters that women just “need to step up” if they want to be heard in the industry???

    • INeedANap says:

      I wonder how many women have tried to step up into his visibility and been smacked down for not being sexy enough, not playing the game, or because he found some nitpicky fault.

      Respectability politics is for suckers.

  11. Cookie says:

    So you would want Kesha to win even if she wasn’t the best nominee just because she’s a women/what she’s been through? Sorry but I don’t agree with that and I dislike the entire tone of the article.

    • Christina says:

      I honestly think her song was the best.

      • Cookie says:

        Yes but that’s your opinion and that’s fine. The award givers obviously disagreed and that’s fine too, we don’t have to reduce it to Kesha should have won because of what she’s been through.

    • Miles says:

      No. We wanted Kesha to win because she had one of the best songs in the category. Pop Song of the Year aside, Ed shouldn’t have even gotten a nomination for Pop Album of the Year. He had one of the worst albums from a critical standpoint. Meanwhile Lorde wasn’t nominated in that category because he took her spot. He’s being rewarded for putting out subpar music. He got a nomination and then a win despite having one of the worst pop albums of the year. The other ladies in the category had far superior music and got nothing for it. That’s why we are mad. And before you tell me it’s about opinion blah blah his album has a 62 meta critic rating from critics and a 4.2 out of 10 from audiences. He should not be rewarded for that horrible album. Period.

      • Cookie says:

        And yet again she had one of the best songs in your opinion, this is all subjective. What I dislike is the idea that Kesha should have been rewarded because of what she went through; what happened to her was awful but I’m sure she would rather be judged on her musical ability than anything else.

      • Miles says:

        It’s not my opinion though. It was critically better than his song. Her album was critically better than his too. And it’s not just about Kesha. All the other women in the pop categories had better songs and albums. Opinion aside. Look at their critics score and user score. Why did the nominee with the lowest scoring album get a win? And again why was he nominated in the first place when he had one of the worst albums of the year. He shouldn’t have been nominated to begin with. He took Lorde’s spot in the Pop Album category. If you can’t see he’s being rewarded for his mediocrity then I don’t know what to tell you other than you’re a part of the problem of letting men do the absolute least and still get rewarded for it.

      • Merritt says:


        No one is saying that Kesha should have won because of what she went through. People are saying she should have won because her song was amazing and powerful.

    • deets says:

      Ed’s song was about wanting to bang a hot girl at a club. Kesha’s was a moving tribute to her healing process and own power in the face of pain and trauma.

      The Grammys showed what message they think is most important.

    • Marigold says:

      Music being good or not is NOT just subjective. There are very, very talented groups of people who use metrics to measure how good music is. I’m sorry you can’t wrap your head around that. It’s also not rocket science to consider that a song like Praying is better than a song like Shape of You. For Christ’s sake, there’s a whole verse about f*#king takeaway. And that beats a song about recovering from rape? GTFO

  12. anika says:

    I agree that this year was #grammyssomale but I surprised everybody is just urg Ed Sheeran – he did have Nielsen Music’s Top Album of 2017. The quality of Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran is same same to me!

    • Veronica says:

      Most people agreed Bruno shouldn’t have won over his competitors, either, though. Essentially, the Grammys patted themselves on the back for nominating diversity but did nothing to seriously reward it.

  13. Svea says:

    The show totally sucked. They trot out the same old tired people every year to represent different genres: Tony Bennett, Sting, U2 (lecturing us about America?), Luke Bryan, Reba McIntyre. Totally boring.
    New producers please.

    • Another Anne says:

      And who came up with that list of presenters? Katie Holmes? What does she have to do with music? Why did U2 present in addition to 2 performances? Couldn’t they find more relevant people to present?

      • Shambles says:

        This is me using my imagination completely, but maybe they had K. Holmes present because she is a strong woman who found her way out of an abusive situation, and that was the unspoken theme of the night?

  14. Margo S. says:

    Wow…. What a tone deaf response.

  15. Merritt says:

    I’m glad I didn’t watch. Complete bs that Sheeran won instead of Kesha. Sheeran has such generic songs.

  16. Brea says:

    The comment about women needing to “step up” was really asinine; just because you chose to ignore them it doesn’t mean that there weren’t really good projects by female artists.
    Also, it’s so obvious how the Grammys decided to FINALLY acknowledge hip-hop and r&b in AOTY and big categories only because of last year backlash. They’re an out of touch institution at this point.

  17. Miles says:

    “Women need to step up”

    Let me breakdown the Pop Vocal Album category
    Rainbow by Kesha has an 81 metacritic rating from critics and 8.3 from users.
    Ed Sheeran’s Divide has a 62 from critics and a 4.2 from users.

    Which one of these albums won?

  18. Lizzie says:

    that was incredibly moving

  19. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I do not understand Sheeran love. Like at ALL. He reminds me of a Muppet, and he ruined a partial episode of my, MY, sacred Game of Thrones viewing.

  20. CrazyCro says:

    Looking on a bright side of this years’s Grammy’s, a female composer, Jennifer Higdon won a best new composition ( Viola Concerto) and Barbara Hannigen won best classical music vokal performance with her exhilarating album “ Crazy Girl Crazy”.

  21. crazydaisy says:


  22. M.A.F. says:

    Wow. I’ve stopped watching Grammy’s years ago because they refuse to recognize rock-n-roll. And when they do, it’s either bands that most wouldn’t consider “rock” or the same damn bands who just put out the same stuff. I don’t expect the music industry to change any time soon.

  23. Lucretia says:

    I could not believe James Corden (who I generally find amusing) and the MANSPLAINING on the heels of Kesha’s performance. I was sitting there with tears rolling down my face as the women on stage gathered around her, and he jumps in without missing a beat to tell us at home how relevant her performance was in light of current events. Seriously? It sounded like an infomercial coming out of his mouth. Was that crap scripted? Respectful silence, maybe waiting a moment– or two — and applauding along with the rest of us would have made a bigger message. Sit down.

  24. Tallia says:

    I am not a big fan of Ke$shas music but I ugly cried during her song. Seeing her on stage with all those strong, amazing, beautiful women was so moving and needed.

    I loved Kendrick, Cardi B/Bruno, Ben Platt and OMGosh Patti Lupone! I am sorry (not sorry) but the country collab totally screwed up Tears in Heaven. That was painful to listen to.

    Lorde was the only AOTY nominee to not perform. But they let Shaggy perform and used him in a skit? WTHEver.

  25. lucy2 says:

    Neil Portnow needs to go – that was one of the most ridiculous and out of touch statements I’ve heard in quite a while. He’s basically saying there’s not equality in the music business because women need to “step up” and use their creativity. Never mind the system of abuse and oppression that has held down so many, and in cases like Kesha’s, downright strangled her ability to have a career.
    If I were a member of that academy, I’d be calling for his resignation, but I’m guessing most of the members are men, and the type of men who are just fine with things as they are.

  26. Lylia says:

    I wouldn’t watch the Grammy’s because I knew I would cry if I didn’t hear Kesha’s name as a winner. I hope to see videos of the performances later. I heard all the songs and hers was the best. It was beautiful, powerful, composed well and orchestrated well. Even if Kesha didn’t win the other nominees had stronger songs than Ed Sheeran. Ugh! This is just like last year when Lemonade didn’t win. I am not a Beyonce fan. I do love Adele. I am still trying to figure out how the judges who are professional musicians are so tone deaf year after year. Frustrating!

  27. Ozogirl says:

    Gaga or Kesha (even though she sounded awful last night) should have won pop vocal. And how did Bruno win for album of the year?? #OutOfTouchGrammys should be trending too.

  28. serena says:

    I’m so mad. ‘Praying’ is an amazing song, means something, and most importantly it deserved to win.. to lose to Ed f-Sheeran, hell no! Kesha, keep fighting!

  29. Tiffany :) says:

    “women… 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.”

    Yeah, right. And monkeys might fly out of my butt.

    Women ENGINEERS and PRODUCERS are NOT f*cking welcome, d*ckhead! You have to recognize it before you can fix it!!!!

  30. Nene says:

    I dont think its fair to say Ed Sheeran’s song is less deserving because people sympathise with Kesha, opinions will differ on who had the better song. Perhaps there should be a male/female category to everything so that everyone can be satisfied

    • Brian says:

      Well, I believe there are categories that are divided this way. The vocal performances are set up this way.

  31. Manny says:

    Ed Sheeran is constantly whining and griping. That plus ripping off Van Morrison (Ed you fucking wish) makes up the bulk of his catalog.

  32. BobaFelty says:

    Apparently less than 10% of nominees have been women in the past 6 years at the Grammy’s. It’s not just about Kesha not winning (although I personally think she should have), it’s about the bigger picture of the music industry and the Grammys pushing women out of the competition throughout the entire process.

  33. me says:

    I like Kelly Clarkson, but how on earth was her song “Love So Soft” up for a Grammy? It wasn’t THAT good in my opinion, and certainly not her best.

    • Veronica says:

      The song isn’t my favorite by her, but it really does show off her vocal talent. At the very least, it could certainly compete with Ed Shareen whose voice isn’t really anything to sing home about (no pun intended).

  34. Jessa Blessa says:

    I understand the outrage about Lorde but her live performances are not good. She really is terrible live. I nearly die of second hand embarrassment anytime I watch her perform live.

  35. HeyThere! says:

    I watched and noticed it was a mans show…despite the best songs and performances came from women. I was fed up by the end of it.

    I was really upset when Kesha didn’t win for her song Praying. It is so powerful and relevant….the voters messed up on that one.

  36. K (now K2!) says:

    So a bunch of men get asked if they think sexism is a problem in the industry they lead, and they respond, “Yes, women need to take responsibility for the ways they don’t try hard enough to do as well as us men…” okay then!

    Bootstraps rhetoric is such a multi-tasker. Class, race, gender – it covers ‘em all.

  37. msd says:

    I’ve said this before but I’m still surprised we haven’t had a raft of big stories and scandals about harassment and abuse in the music industry because it’s worse than Hollywood. They don’t think it matters, clearly.

    As an aside … I was really disappointed Nikolai Coster Waldau, who seemed better than that, recently said acting Oscars shouldn’t be split into male and female categories and that one category would be #equality. How freaking clueless and privileged can you be?? Men get more opportunities and a much higher percentage of speaking roles, and awards voting groups are male dominated, value male stories more, and vote for men more. The end result would be men, men, men, and the occasional woman. Like the Grammys. Duh.

  38. Melone says:

    I thought that Pink deserved to win that category over both Kesha and Ed Sheeran. For Pop Vocal Album, I hate to say it but I liked Lana Del Rey’s album more.

  39. paddingtonjr says:

    Kesha’s performance was incredible, the song powerful, raw and real. Watching her surrounded by strong women supporting her was amazing. The moment spoke for itself; no comment needed, Mr. Corden.

  40. TPOE says:

    Not a fan of hers. I completely sympathize with her and she has obviously been wronged and mistreated. But her music does nothing for me.

  41. Chris says:

    Between the Grammys, The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame etc over the last few years there honestly seems to be a streak, more than ever before previously, of defiant conservatism amongst the presumably older male voters/industry members and it’s unfortunate to think that it would have to take the scandals that hit Hollywood towards the end of last year for them to be forced to reconsider stances that look prejudiced.

    Watching Kendrick lose again makes me wonder how Lauryn Hill and Outkast managed to win AOTY back in the day honestly. Watching the majority of male winners on the night and Portnow’s tone deaf opinion on females having to ‘step up’ makes me wonder how this is the same awards body that had all female led nominees for AOTY in the year Hill won.