And the award for most sexist, misogynist bunch of vile hypocrites goes to… the Grammys!
There was no doubting the highlight of last night’s Grammys. It came when Kesha gave an emotional performance of her single “Praying”, about the alleged sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her former producer ‘Dr Luke’ Gottwald.
She was introduced by Janelle Monae who delivered a powerful speech to the star-studded audience. ‘We say time’s up for pay inequality, discrimination or harassment of any kind,’ Monae declared, ‘and the abuse of power.’
Then Kesha appeared on stage with a host of other female stars including Cindy Lauper and Camila Cabello. They all wore white, the theme colour for the night, along with the wearing of white roses, to show support and solidarity for the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
When Kesha finished singing, she burst into tears, as did many of the audience.
But Kesha didn’t actually win an award. In the category for which she was nominated, Best Pop Solo Performance, Ed Sheeran won, for a song – as enraged Twitter swiftly pointed out – about getting a woman drunk and taking her home to have sex with her.
This was the perfect embodiment of the gigantic problem the Grammys has in proudly joining the charge for better treatment of women.
Because let’s be perfectly frank: it’s the single most sexist, misogynist and abusive awards show of them all, celebrating many of the most sexist, misogynist and abusive people in an amoral industry of spectacular proportions.
If you thought Hollywood’s bad, it’s got nothing on the record business, particularly in the worlds of hip-hop and rap.
Take Big Sean, a rapper whose lyrics are littered with misogynistic and homophobic material. In the video for his single ‘I Don’t F*ck With You’, the Detroit rapper talks about ‘stupid ass b*tches.’
He collaborated last year on a song with Eminem which included lyrics about ‘urinating on Fergie’ and raping Conservative talk show host Ann Coulter ‘with a Klan poster, a lamp post, a door handle and a damn bolt cutter.’ He doesn’t just write about treating women badly, he acts on it too.
In 2011, Big Sean was arrested in New York for sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching of a 17-year-old girl after a concert. Some charges were dropped after he accepted a guilty plea for unlawful imprisonment of the girl, a fan.
This would have led to him being banned from continuing to work in almost any other job. But not the music industry. This year, Big Sean was nominated for a Grammy.
Hip-hop and rap stars like him have made millions from writing music and making videos that depict women as prostitutes, sexual objects and ‘b*tches’.
One of the biggest winners last night night was Kendrick Lamar, whose most recent album is riddled with graphic sexually-charged lyrics and repeated references to ‘hoes’ and ‘b*tches’.
One song, Loyalty, has the line: ‘Girl, you look so good, it’s to die for, Ooh that p*ssy good, it’s to die for.’ In another, Humble, he says: ‘Girl, I can buy yo’ ass the world with my paystub, Ooh that p*ssy good, won’t you sit it on my taste bloods?’
It continues: ‘I’m so f***ing sick and tired of the Photoshop.. show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks. Still will take you down right on your mama’s couch in Polo socks.’
In Lust, he says: ‘Pop you a pill, call up your b*tches, have ‘em waitin’ on you, go to the club, have some fun, make that ass bounce.’
In Fear he talks of ‘f***in’ with b*tches.’
In ‘God’, he says: ‘Don’t judge me, I was young, f***in’ all the rats’. The ‘rats’ are women.
If Lamar worked in the media or film industry right now, he’d be hung, drawn and quartered for speaking that way in public. But because he’s a rapper, he was rewarded with an array of Grammys. Lamar is hardly alone in deploying this kind of rhetoric.
Snoop Dogg, who was on parade taunting President Trump last night, once infamously sang: ‘B*tches ain’t sh*t, but hoes and tricks.’
Kanye West in his 2013 album Yeezus boasted of ‘Eating Asian p*ssy, all I need was sweet and sour sauce.’
Jay-Z and Beyonce, sitting at the front with their little girl Blue, were accused of glorifying domestic violence in Drunk In Love, in which Jay-Z raps about Ike Turner forcing his then wife Tina to eat cake.
Rick Ross, another nominee this year, celebrated date rape in his song, U.O.E.N.O. ‘Put molly all in her champagne,’ he rapped, ‘she ain’t even know it, I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.’
Ross was dropped by Reebok in the furore that followed, but not by the Grammys.
Then there’s another nominee, Tyler the Creator, whose lyrics include ‘rape a pregnant b*tch and tell my friends I had a threesome.’
At least the last two had the good sense not to wear a white rose.
It’s not just male music artist hypocrisy that deserves scrutiny.
Many female singing stars stand accused of absurd double standards for claiming to despise sexual exploitation but then stripping off for virtual pornographic images or videos, brazenly using their naked bodies and sex to sell records.
The day before the Grammys, Conservative street artist Sabo unleashed a poster campaign around Los Angeles with the hashtage #WeAllKnew.
One had a naked Miley Cyrus wearing a police hat and provocatively inserting a long baton into her mouth imitating oral sex.
Another featured Lady Gaga, naked and legs akimbo.
When he was questioned by the Hollywood Reporter about the ‘appropriateness’ of his work, Sabo replied: ‘How can anyone be upset with me putting these up when no one seems upset about what the music industry pushes to our kids?’
He later tweeted: ‘The Grammys are the most misogynistic of all the awards shows. Why are they allowed to slide? Many women participate willingly in their sexploitation and they all knew.’
As for any pretense at gender equality, only 17 of the 86 Grammy awards last night went to women or female-fronted bands.
Towards the end of the show, Hillary Clinton, the High Priestess of Hypocrisy, popped up to read Trump-mocking extracts from Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury. She received wild applause.
It seemed perfectly fitting that the liberal music world’s heroine on a night of tearful endorsements about abuse of power and sexual harassment, should be someone who it emerged this week had protected a campaign advisor’s job during the 2008 presidential race after he was accused of… sexual harassment.