Grammys could have #MeToo moment but industry has far to go

Singer Kesha's anticipated performance as a salute to the Time's Up and MeToo movements could draw more attention to the industry's massive imbalance of power.

Kesha performing against MeToo backdrop as some guests expected to wear white roses in support of equality

Singer Kesha will perform Praying, a song about redemption, against the backdrop of the MeToo and Time's Up movements at the Grammy Awards on Sunday. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Pop star Kesha, who continues to battle a high-profile defamation suit launched in 2014 by music producer Dr. Luke after she accused him of sexual and physical abuse, will perform Praying at Sunday's Grammy Awards as a salute to the MeToo movement.

"It felt like an emotional, raw victory for myself, one step closer to healing," she posted in a tweet Saturday about co-writing the song, which focuses on a tormentor's redemption.

White roses in solidarity

It's not the only moment at the annual awards show expected to highlight the growing movement by women to expose abusers.

A group within the music industry, calling themselves Voices in Entertainment, is asking guests to wear white roses in solidarity with Time's Up, which was formed by hundreds of Hollywood women and includes a legal fund for those battling sexual harassment in the workplace.

Earlier this month, men and women dressed in black at the Golden Globe Awards to support the cause. Many also wore Time's Up pins.

From left to right, actors Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria, Salma Hayek, and Ashley Judd were among the many men and women at the Golden Globe Awards Jan. 7 wearing black as a protest against sexual harassment. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Numbers don't lie

But the music industry is fighting its own demons when it comes to imbalances of power, according to a study released by the University of Southern California's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

Researchers looked at 600 popular songs based on Billboard charts between 2012-2017. They found the artists attached to the tracks were overwhelmingly male — 22 per cent were women.

The number dropped even further for key roles behind the scenes, with 12 per cent of women being songwriters and only two per cent being producers.

Rihanna, who will perform at this year's Grammy Awards, Nicky Minaj and Taylor Swift are cited in the USC study as some of the top females with songwriting credits in a field dominated by men. (The Associated Press)

'Epidemic of invisibility'

"These findings suggest that female producers face an epidemic of invisibility when it comes to working in the top leadership positions inside the recording industry," director Stacy L. Smith and board chair Leah Fischman said in the report.

These findings suggest that female producers face an epidemic of invisibility when it comes to working in the top leadership positions inside the recording industry- USC's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative

When it comes to the Grammys, they found that between 2013 and 2018, less than 10 per cent of all nominees have been women.

The category for record of the year — the biggest award of the night — is being held up as a sign of progress. There's an an acknowledgement of hip hop's importance with nods to Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar, and every nominee is a person of colour. Still, every nominee is also male.

The 60th annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast live from New York at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to Kesha, it will feature performances from Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Cardi B, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee as well as Canadian Alessia Cara alongside Khalid and Logic.