Salon’s 2019 Grammy Awards preview: Did women “step it up” this year?

At the 2018 Grammys, Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy said if women wanted to win more Grammys, they needed to "step it up." During the male-dominated awards ceremony, only one woman won a televised Grammy, and just one woman faced off against all men in the top four categories. In preparation for this year's show, Salon's Rachel Leah, Angela Yee of "The Breakfast Club" and Tariq Khan, producer and founder of HighBreedMusic, joined "Salon Talks" to break down the 2019 nominations.

"After last year, I think this year they were like okay we have to make this very inclusive of women," Yee said on "Salon Talks." "We're going to get Alicia Keys to host, we're going to make sure that women are included, and you can see the results of them actually going out and actively trying to make sure that women participate in the process more, too."

Following last year's gender-imbalanced results, the Recording Academy launched a task force on diversity and inclusion, registered new voters and expanded categories from a top five to a top eight, meaning more artists are included and there's wider representation, but there's an even lower chance of winning. When the 61st Grammy nominations were announced in January, they were met with largely positive reviews. For a second year in a row, hip-hop and R&B dominated in the Academy's four major general field categories, as did women and artists of color.

Like most major award shows, the authority of the Grammys has been in question, as it's been forced to confront its overwhelmingly white and male past, and, as it seeks to stay significant as a benchmark of musical excellence moving forward. Watch the episode above to hear the panel's take on whether or not the Academy is on its way to accomplishing this. And tune in for more about Salon's Grammy predictions, hip-hop's complicated relationship with the awards show, and its overall relevance in 2019.

The Grammy Awards air on Sunday, February 10 at 8 PM ET.

About "Salon Talks"

Hosted by Salon journalists, "Salon Talks" episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. "Salon Talks" is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on Facebook and Twitter and each episode is published in full on

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