Marissa R. Moss, a journalist and author of Her Country, is hesitant to declare that this year’s ceremony marked a true shift in representation for the Grammys.
“I think it’s so easy to look at this year’s monumental success for women and say, ‘Ok, the work is done,'” she tells BBC Culture. “I think that fire [Bridgers] has shows how important it is to still be pissed as hell. Because next year, things could go right back to where they were. It’s not like this is the first year where women made exceptional art, it’s just the first year they were all awarded for it. We can’t forget, though, that this is still mostly confined to white women when it comes to the general categories.”
A good example of women of colour being left out of general categories is SZA, who, with nine nominations, was this year’s most-nominated artist. Though nominated for album, song and record, SZA won her three trophies in the R&B and pop categories, only one of which was televised. Despite being a massive commercial and critical success, her album SOS fell to Swift’s Midnights.
Cultural critic Hillary Crosley Coker cites USC Annenburg School for Communication and Journalism’s recently released study Inclusion in the Recording Studio? as proof that there is still immense gender disparity in the music industry. The study compiled data from 1,200 popular songs released between 2012 and 2023 to determine just how broad that disparity is. The conclusion? For every woman involved in making a hit song, there are three men.
“It should be one-to-one, right? We outnumber these dudes on the actual Earth,” Crosley Coker tells BBC Culture. “As a black woman in America, whenever I see, ‘It’s the first woman to do this’, or, ‘It’s the first black person to do that’, while I’m happy for that person, I’m looking at that industry or that company or that job and thinking, ‘So, y’all have just been racist and sexist this entire time. And now you want a cookie?'”