Dua Lipa explained her decision to reference Recording Academy President Neil Portnow's sexist "step up" comments in her Best New Artist acceptance speech. After the ceremony, the "One Kiss" artist said that it "only felt right."
"I feel that, first of all, being in the new artist category and having so many female artists nominated is a big change. It’s a big difference than the previous years," she said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "To see so many women honored, I was like 'this is amazing.' It only felt right to be able to do that."
Lipa's speech was a direct reference to Portnow's comments backstage at last year's Grammys, when he blamed a lack of representation on women not trying hard enough to be involved in the music industry.
"I think it has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and their souls who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, who want to be producers, who want to be part of the industry on an executive level to step up," he said.
Lipa is not the only artist who used their speech to take shots at the Recording Academy. Drake gave the awards show an existential crisis when he used his awards speech to criticize the entire idea of the ceremony and whether or not Academy voters were a good measure of success in hip-hop.
Portnow, for his part, closed the ceremony by owning up to his past mistakes and pointing out that this year's show was a course correction.
"Thank you to all the artists who performed on the Grammys stage, who both by faith and intention represent a remarkable and diverse group, including some of the most thrilling new and legendary female voices of our times and to me that only feels right because this past year I've been reminded that if coming face to face with an issue opens your eyes, wide enough, it makes you more committed than ever to help address those issues," he said, in a speech where he also spoke of his pending retirement.
"The need for social change has been a hallmark of the American experience, from the founding of our country to the complex times we live in today. So we must seize this unique moment to bring change within our own industry to ensure that there is diversity and inclusion in all that we do. And we will."