Music News: 91 percent of Grammy nominees are men, study finds


SZA speaks in New York City, January 2018.
While three out of five of 2018's Best New Artist nominees - including SZA, above - are women, that ratio isn't typical of the Grammys overall, a new study finds. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Mastercard)

Over the last six Grammy ceremonies, 899 individuals have been nominated — and only 9% of them have been women, a new study finds. The gender imbalance in the music industry isn't isolated to the Recording Academy, either: among 600 of the most popular songs from 2012 to 2017, only 22% of performers and 12% of songwriters were female. In the booth, it gets worse: only 2% of song producers were women.

The news is brighter when it comes to racial diversity: 39% of Americans are nonwhite, and the pop charts actually reflect a higher proportion of artists of color, with 42% of performers coming from minority groups. Researcher Stacy L. Smith, the study's lead author, says her goal "is to eradicate inequality in entertainment." (New York Times)

Russell Simmons faces lawsuit

Russell Simmons, who's already stepped down from his companies amid accusations of sexual assault, is now facing a $5 million lawsuit from a woman who says the music mogul raped her in 2016. Filmmaker Jennifer Jarosik says that she went to Simmons's home to discuss a possible documentary when the assault took place.

Simmons calls the accusation "absolutely untrue." Jarosik's attorney says that Simmons needs to pay for his alleged actions: "It's not enough to apologize and step away from your business, convert a yoga studio to a nonprofit and still draw a salary and be worth $500 million and do nothing but apologize." (Rolling Stone)

Questlove calls racial discrimination lawsuit "ridiculous"

Questlove is being sued, along with NBC, by two former Tonight Show employees who claim they were unfairly fired because they are white. Questlove calls their claim "ridiculous," not only because "racism is REAL" but because it wasn't even Questlove's decision to fire the men — it was solely the decision of NBC.

The firing hinged on a text message that the former employees, camera operators Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino, agree was "racist and misogynist." Their case: the sender was a stagehand, and the message was "unsolicited." Roots bassist Mark Kelley, an African-American man, also received the text but was not fired, whereas Decker and Cimino were let go.

"NBC is committed to providing a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity," said the network in a statement. "We have strong policies in place that protect against discrimination in any form." (Rolling Stone)

Mike Shinoda remembers Chester Bennington on new solo EP

Mike Shinoda has released a new solo EP called Post Traumatic. The three-song release was created while he grieved his Linkin Park bandmate Chester Bennington. The opening song, "Place to Start," features voicemails left for Shinoda after Bennington's death in July 2017.

"Art has always been the place I go when I need to sort through the complexity and confusion of the road ahead," wrote Shinoda in a message to fans. "I don't know where this path goes, but I'm grateful I get to share it with you." (Pitchfork)

Lorde faces heckler over Israel cancellation

On Wednesday night, Lorde was among the performers at Jack Antonoff’s annual concert to benefit the Ally Coalition: an organization working for LGBTQ equality. Accompanied by Antonoff — a key producer on her latest album — Lorde sang four songs including covers of Roy Orbison’s "You Got It" and Carly Rae Jepsen’s "Come Away With Me."

At one point, Lorde said how nice the crowd was, causing one attendee to yell back, "In Israel, they're nice too!" At that — a reference to Lorde's recent decision to cancel a Tel Aviv concert over the treatment of Palestinians — Antonoff said, "No, no. We've raised a shit-ton of money tonight. F--- that negativity." (Billboard)

Ice-T stars in Tide Pod Challenge PSA

In recent days, many people on social media — especially teens — have been joking about eating Tide Pods of laundry detergent. A few have even gone through with it, endangering their health. Both Tide and the government have issued warnings not to consume detergent in any form, and The Tonight Show got recent guest Ice-T to record his own message for people who are considering taking the so-called "Tide Pod Challenge." (Billboard)

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