India.Arie pens open letter to Recording Academy president

1:10 p.m Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 Atlanta Life
India.Arie penned an open letter to Recording Academy President Neil Portnow. Credit: BMG

India.Arie has taken Recording Academy  President Neil Portnow to task for his comments on women at the Grammys.

When asked by Variety about women solo winners - or lack thereof - at the awards show, Portnow had this to say:

“It has to being 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.”

Related: India Arie gets back to her roots

Well, Arie wasn’t having it.

Here’s part of her open letter:

“Neil Portnow is mistaken. His statements are a mess, but I get why he can’t empathize with women and women of color. HE is saying, the more women there are, the more chances women have to WIN. BUT. WE NEED MORE WOMEN, more WOMEN OF COLOR AND MORE INCLUSIVE MINDED PEOPLE in positions of power, in the rooms where decisions are made. When this happens, doors will open for women to be represented in more DIVERSE WAYS. The music industry is dominated by white men and the Grammys and NARAS are run and produced by ONLY white men. The fact that Portnow says we’d “be welcomed” indicates that he doesn’t think we’re part of the household to begin with.”

Portnow, who is facing criticism for his comment, recently announced formation of an independent task force “to review every aspect of what we do as an organization and identify where we can do more to overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community,” according to Variety.

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Some women in the industry have called for Portnow to resign.

Arie no longer calls Atlanta home.

The “Brown Skin” singer is working on a new project and splits her time between New York City and Nashville.