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Following the 60th Grammy Awards, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow really put his foot in his mouth.

At this year's awards, women made up just 9% of the nearly 900 nominees, despite critically acclaimed releases from musicians and creatives from all genres. In an interview discussing the issue of a seemingly sexist slate and award show, Portnow said the following statement, emphasis added.

“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.”

The Recording Academy and MusiCares President/CEO Neil Portnow speaks onstage during the 60th Grammy Awards. Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Naras.


In the midst of a groundswell of women coming forward and taking up space in industries that have long pushed them aside, this senior white man in a position of power told women to "step up."

Yeah, it didn't go so well.

Artists the likes of Pink, Halsey, Charlie XCX, and Katy Perry were quick to fire back at Portnow's absurd assertion.

Halsey, fresh off a passionate speech at the Women's March, didn't miss an opportunity to call out not just Portnow, but the industry. If the nominees are selected by peers, then perhaps the entire system needs to be reevaluated, not just the opinions of a man at the top.

Charli XCX chimed in with righteous anger, which is the best kind of anger because it usually leads to action. Drag him, Charli!

Grammy winner Pink shared a handwritten open letter to Portnow, and anyone else who doesn't recognize the substantial contributions women make to music each year.

“Women in music don’t need to ‘step up’ —women have been stepping since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside. Women OWNED music this year. They’ve been KILLING IT. And every year before this. When we celebrate and honor the talent and accomplishments of women, and how much women STEP UP every year, and how much women STEP UP every year, against all odds, we show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal, and what it looks like to be fair.”

And 13-time Grammy nominee Katy Perry quote-tweeted Pink, applauding her bravery and calling out Portnow and other barriers to gender equality in the industry.

Portnow walked back his comments, but it doesn't change the reality of the industry.

After some serious backlash from artists, music professionals, and fans, Portnow released the following statement, apologizing for his word choice.

Last night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year's Grammy Awards. Regrettably, I used two words, “step up,” that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make.

Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced. We must actively work to eliminate these barriers and encourage women to live their dreams and express their passion and creativity through music. We must welcome, mentor, and empower them. Our community will be richer for it. I regret that I wasn't as articulate as I should have been in conveying this thought. I remain committed to doing everything I can to make our music community a better, safer, and more representative place for everyone.

Kesha, Camila Cabello, Andra Day, and Julia Michaels perform onstage during the 60th Grammy Awards. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Naras.

It's a much better, more helpful statement.

But his apology is only the first step correcting the serious gender inequalities in the Grammys and executive roles in the recording industry. Now more than ever, we need to push back on calls to "welcome, mentor, and empower" and ensure these statements are backed up with funding, commitment, and action.

Women are already doing the work and then some. It's time for the men, especially men in positions of power, to step up and do their part to truly make the community, "a better, safer, and more representative place for everyone."

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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