In “Men: 1, Women: 0” news, Ed Sheeran took home the Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance last night, at the 2018 Grammy Awards. "Take home" might be the wrong phrase, though, seeing as Sheeran didn't show up to retrieve it. The Academy-appointed king of pop was admittedly sleeping at the time of the ceremony, as proven by his latest Instagram post which reads “Woke up to the news I won two grammys [sic] last night. Thank you!”
However, the low-key snub that was Sheeran’s absence from the awards doesn’t compare to the very high-key snub against fellow female pop vocalists by the Academy. It has also been repeatedly noted that while fellow nominees Kesha and Lady Gaga produced albums articulating their struggle with sexual assault, Sheeran’s “Shape of You” details a fantasy of the sexualized female body from the male perspective. The juxtaposition makes the snubs glaringly worse.
The industry, and the Academy voters, clearly have a long way to go in recognizing talent over sales. And don’t forget the strong, contradictory evidence against Sheeran’s win that came in the form of Kesha’s live rendition of “Praying.” Backed by a league of female stars (like Cyndi Lauper and Camila Cabello) clad in white, Kesha still managed to own the night, as well as the hearts of the public.
It’s been said that the Grammys are a popularity contest rather than a gauge of true musical talent. But with audible booing heard from inside and outside of the venue, as well as on the Internet, after Sheeran’s win, it’s more clear than ever that the “contest” of the Grammys still lies within the power struggle of the patriarchal foundation which the music industry was founded and functions on today.