Phoebe Bridgers Slams Ex-Grammy Chief Neil Portnow While Drake Reiterates Claim That Grammys Do Not “Dictate” Hip-Hop Success

Last night’s Grammy broadcast has generally received terrific reviews, but the Recording Academy wasn’t quite so lucky, with two high-profile performers making off-camera slams against the awards organization.

Both Drake and Phoebe Bridgers took some well-aimed shots at the Academy, with Drake’s broadside coming before the ceremony and Bridgers’ swipe during.

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Prior to the telecast, Drake posted a clip on his Instagram Story of his 2019 Grammy acceptance speech (for “God’s Plan”) — a speech that was cut short during the show five years ago — in which he had harsh words for the Grammys. He accompanied his Story video post with a caption reiterating his 2019 speech:

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“All you incredible artists remember this show isn’t the facts, it’s just the opinion of a group of people [whose] name are kept a secret (literally you can Google it). Congrats to anybody winning anything for hip-hop but this show doesn’t dictate shit in our world.”

In the 2019 video, Drake addressed aspiring musicians and his peers by saying, “I want to let you know that we’re playing in an opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport. So it’s not the NBA where at the end of the year, you’re holding a trophy because you made the right decisions or won the games.”

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In a portion of his 2019 speech not included on his IG post, Drake said, “Look, the point is, you’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown. Look, if there’s people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain, in the snow, spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows? You don’t need this right there I promise you. You already won.”

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Bridgers, meanwhile, used the occasion of an evening dominated by women, from SZA, Taylor Swift, Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell and Bridgers (who won four awards, including three with with her trio Boygenius), to slam comments made by the former Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow.

“I have something to say about women,” Bridgers told press gathered backstage. “The ex-president of the Recording Academy, Neil Portnow, said that if women want to be nominated and win Grammys, that they should ‘step up.’ He’s also being accused of sexual violence. And to him I’d like to say: I know you’re not dead yet, but when you are … rot in piss.”

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Portnow stepped down from his Academy position in 2019 in the wake of a controversy in which he attributed the dearth of nominations for women as their failure to “step up.” The following year, claims of sexual abuse allegations surfaced against Portnow, which he denied. This past November, Portnow was sued by a musician who claims he raped her five years ago.

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