Do women need to step up Grammy leaders comment sparks debate on

first_imgTORONTO – Canadian singer Alessia Cara was the only woman to win one of the major categories at this year’s Grammy Awards, and less than a quarter of the 84 trophies handed out Sunday went to either a woman or group that included a woman.But it was backstage comments from the Recording Academy’s president that inflamed critics, who saw this year’s awards show is further proof that a pervasive gender imbalance exists in the industry.“I think it has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on an executive level,” Neil Portnow told reporters in the press room after the show on Sunday.“(They need) to step up because I think they would be welcome.”Suggesting that women aren’t “stepping up” in the music industry frustrates Aerin Fogel, organizer of Toronto-based feminist arts celebration Venus Fest. She said she is not surprised by the reaction from the executives.“In a way what he’s (saying) represents the larger issues in the music industry — and in most industries,” Fogel said. “There are real inherent challenges for women to be moving through these structures in the same way as men.”Backlash against the Grammys over its gender disparity started long before Sunday’s ceremony. When the nominations were announced in late November, many fans were quick to note that major categories were stacked with men.Tension mounted in the days before the event when Lorde’s mother, Sonja Yelich, tweeted an excerpt from a New York Times article that said only nine per cent of nominees were women over the past six Grammy Awards.During the broadcast several female artists — including Kesha and Lady Gaga — delivered impassioned performances in solidarity with the MeToo movement. Neither artist took home a Grammy at the ceremony.Some have stood behind the Grammys, saying women haven’t been entirely left out. Adele won twice for album of the year over that same six-year period, while Taylor Swift grabbed the award once. Meghan Trainor was chosen as best new artist in 2016 before Cara this year.But the wins are still mostly men in those categories.Anne Douris, a Toronto-based musician who performs as Bossie, said Grammy figures suggest the organization’s president is “tone deaf” on timely issues.“The attitude of ‘pull up your bootstraps’ is such an easy thing to say,” she said. “People in that position of power need to be working a little bit harder to look at this as a complicated issue.”Before she launched her solo career, Douris regularly toured with other bands, including several Canadian rock musicians.“I would work on tours where I was the only woman and the entire time nobody would shake my hand,” she said. “People would assume I was someone’s girlfriend.”Douris said those memories came rushing back when she heard executives at the Grammys suggest women work harder to pursue industry roles.“There’s lots of women working very hard, you’re just not talking to them,” the musician said she wished she could tell the leaders.Grammy winner Barbara Hannigan said she didn’t face a lack of opportunities as a woman when she first started in the music industry. As a soprano, the Nova Scotia singer only competed for jobs with other women.“Then when I became a conductor, all the sudden I was in a male-dominated field and I started getting all these questions about my gender,” said Hannigan, who picked up a Grammy for classical solo vocal album at this year’s awards.“I don’t want to be considered a female conductor, I want to just be a musician,” she said. “As soon as someone puts ‘female’ in front of my job, they immediately change the focus from my work to my gender, which I find kind of frustrating.”Hannigan said that while her priorities are focused on creating music of the highest calibre, she still acknowledges that she was raised in a world where female conductors were put in a box.“For some reason it seemed absolutely appropriate for a woman to conduct a choir but not an orchestra,” she said. “I don’t know why that is. All I know is that I never saw that.”While she doesn’t dwell on her gender, Hannigan recognizes she is among a rare set of female conductors. She was reminded of the fact during a recent performance for a couple of thousand teenagers, many of whom had little exposure to classical music.“That’s amazing because they’re going to sit in the hall and they’re not going to find it strange to see a woman on the podium,” she said.“In that way, by me just showing up — and doing what I do the highest of my ability — this is what’s important.”Follow @dfriend on Twitter.last_img read more

Jason Mraz Reduces Bottled Water Waste On Tour

first_imgJason Mraz has long avoided single-use plastic water bottles. Now, the Grammy-winning artist is using his North American tour to encourage others to do the same.Mraz is partnering with Brita and its FilterForGood Music Project to encourage music fans to reduce their bottled water waste during his “Tour is a Four Letter Word” tour. The 37-stop tour started Aug. 9, and runs through Oct 7.As part of his long-standing commitment to environmental preservation, Mraz invited the Brita FilterForGood Music Project to join the tour and help artists, fans and backstage crews reduce their bottled water waste. As a cornerstone to the tour’s greening efforts led by non-profit group REVERB, Brita will provide free filtered water stations so all concert-goers can ditch bottled water at the show and instead use reusable bottles or a Brita Bottle with a built-in water filter. The free filtered water will be a centerpiece of an entire Eco-Village that fans can visit at each show to get involved with local environmental organizations and volunteer for community service projects.“Each and every one of us is responsible for leaving the planet in a better condition than how we found it. One simple but powerful action we can all take is eliminating our disposable water bottle usage. We’re challenging our fans to ask themselves ‘do I need to purchase a bottle of water or can I use a reusable bottle instead?’” said Jason Mraz. “By working with Brita, we are able to provide our fans with an accessible alternative to bottled water that will keep an estimated 35,000 disposable bottles out of landfills and oceans by the end of the tour.”Concert-goers can visit the Brita FilterForGood tent to win prizes, take the Brita FilterForGood pledge and learn more about the Brita FilterForGood movement. Fans can also bring their own reusable bottle to fill up at Brita Hydration Stations by Haws Corporation at the venue to stay cool and hydrated. Special Jason Mraz edition Brita FilterForGood Nalgene bottles will also be available for purchase at merchandise booths on site.last_img read more

Wilfully and recklessly Human rights tribunal awards compensation for First Nation children

first_imgAPTN NewsThe Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ordered Canada to pay compensation to First Nation children, youth and families who were taken from their homes on reserve and put in care of the state.“This ruling is dedicated to all the First Nations children, their families and communities who were harmed by the unnecessary removal of children from your homes and communities,” the ruling says.In the ruling issued Friday, the tribunal awarded $40,000 to each child who was taken from their parents for reasons other than sexual, physical or psychological abuse.Under the Human Rights Act, the tribunal panel of chair Sophie Marchildon and Edward Lustig were allowed to award a maximum of $20,000 per victim.They could add another $20,000 if the discrimination was found to be wilful and reckless.“The Panel finds that it has sufficient evidence to find that Canada’s conduct was wilful and reckless resulting in what we have referred to as the worst-case scenario under our Act,” the ruling says.“This case of racial discrimination is one of the worst possible cases warranting the maximum awards.”According to the report, there are between 40,000 and 80,000 on reserve children who were made wards of the state between 2006 and 2017.Each child would receive compensation – along with their parents or grandparents – at a figure yet to be fully determined.The total compensation package, unless challenged by Canada, will reach into the billions of dollars.“The Tribunal’s finding that Canada wilfully and recklessly discriminated against First Nations children demonstrates how little Canada learned from the residential school and the 60’s scoop apologies and class actions,” said Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (FNCFCS).“They knew better and did not do better resulting in tragedy for another generation of First Nations children, families and Nations.”According to the ruling, a number of factors play into who is eligible for compensation.Children living on reserve or in the Yukon, and taken into care unnecessarily, were removed from their homes on reserve due to abuse but were placed outside their extended families or communities and thus did not benefit from least disruptive measures, or as a result of a gap, delay and/or denial of services, and was placed in care outside of their home, family and community in order to receive those services.The panel is also ordering full compensation for parents and grandparents who were caring for a child who was unnecessarily removed.“No amount of compensation can ever recover what you have lost, the scars that are left on your souls or the suffering that you have gone through as a result of racism, colonial practices and discrimination,” wrote the tribunal. “This is the truth.”The case against the government was filed with the Tribunal in 2007 by the FNCFCS and Assembly of First Nations (AFN).The two groups argued that Canada discriminated against First Nation children in care by not funding child welfare services to the same level as children living off reserve.In 2016 the Tribunal agreed and ordered Canada to stop it’s discriminatory practices and followed up with several warnings.The issue of compensation was fought by government lawyers who argued, among other things, that the tribunal didn’t evidence from any victims in order to gauge the amount of harm done in order to put a price on that harm.The government says it’s reviewing the ruling.“We want to ensure that, first and foremost, we continue to place the best interests of the child at the forefront,” Kevin Deagle, policy advisor for Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan, said in an email.“Our government is committed to seeing the unmet and longstanding needs of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children met.“Our government is committed to closing socioeconomic gaps, and that’s why we’ve invested $21.4 billion in Indigenous housing, education, healthcare, infrastructure, and clean water– all key elements in improving the lives of Indigenous children.”The government also outlined in the email it has put investments into First Nations child welfare including $1.2 billion since 2016, and introduced Bill C-92 – a law that, while flawed, will revamp the First Nations, Metis and Inuit child welfare system.Canada has 30 days to appeal the ruling.But the tribunal’s ruling has more to do with what the government hasn’t done over time, rather than what it’s doing today.“In British Columbia, I have witnessed the harm to First Nations children and families caused by removing children when supports in their homes, families and communities should have been considered or improved,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, in a statement to media.“The Tribunal found massive systemic discrimination and said it was willful and reckless on the part of the Government of Canada. This is something we have known in our own families and communities for a long time.”The government, FNCFCS and the AFN have until Dec. 10 to work out a process to identify, and then distribute the compensation to those who are eligible.news@aptn.ca@aptnnewslast_img read more

Milcon Spending Bill includes Missile Site BRAC Amendments

first_imgHouse lawmakers approved two amendments of interest to defense communities — one that would provide funding for an East Coast missile defense site and one that would prohibit a new BRAC round — as part of the fiscal 2016 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs spending bill the chamber approved Thursday.  Language allocating $30 million for the planning, design and construction of an East Coast missile defense site was offered by freshman Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y), whose district includes Fort Drum.Last year, the Defense Department said it would prepare environmental impact statements at four locations, including Fort Drum, N.Y., to determine a potential site to host ground-based interceptors to protect the East Coast. The department’s effort to identify an East Coast missile defense site follows Congress’ direction to study at least three potential sites, including at least two on the East Coast. DOD, however, has made no decision to proceed with construction of a new missile defense site, and officials do not believe it is necessary.The other three sites the department is studying are: Naval Air Station Portsmouth SERE Training Area, Maine; Camp Ravenna Joint Training Center, Ohio; and Fort Custer Training Center, Mich.Lawmakers also approved by voice vote an amendment that would prohibit the use of funds from the milcon spending bill to implement a new BRAC round. The provision was introduced by another Republican freshman, Rep. John Ratcliffe (Texas). Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Raising the drama quotient through art

first_imgThe exhibition curated by Amal and Rahaab Allana has two sections, one deals with film stills and film memorabilia of cinema from the 1940s to 70s, the second section showcases the work of nine contemporary artists who have been inspired by Bollywood films and have created artworks which are stimulating and thought provoking.Filmy Jagat is a cinema archive of the 1940’s-70’s comprising of a personal scrape book, lobby cards, songbooks and other film memorabilia. M.F. Hussain’s involvement with Bollywood has had many dimensions through the decades. A contemporary artwork entitled Culture of the Street showcases a magnificent portfolio of 20 of his photographs replete with enormous hoardings that are an integral part of Chennai’s streets. Arpana Caur’s take on the Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Shree 420 poster, Kanchan Chander’s Bollywood heroines; along with newcomers like Bharti Verma, Rahul Kumar, Shirley Bhatnagar, Aban Raza, Rajiv Gautam and Sharmistha Dutta assert the dynamic presence of Bollywood in our daily lives.The other section features contemporary artwork where Art Heritage has invited young artists to respond to the dynamic presence of Bollywood in our daily lives through a variety of mediums. More often than not, it is the film hoarding, the poster and the film stills, i.e. the iconic images along with the technology used to promote films that has excited the imagination of contemporary artists in this particular show.last_img read more

Vetiver grass plantation achieves stellar success

first_imgKolkata: The plantation of Vetiver grass to prevent soil erosion, an initiative taken by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has achieved great success with Nadia district administration planting the grass along the banks of six rivers, covering an area of 210 km in 2017-18. Banerjee has named the project Sabujayan. In 2018-19, steps have been taken to plant Vetiver along the river bank, covering another 120 km. The grass will be planted along river banks, covering a total area of 743 km in Nadia. The six rivers that flow through the district are Ichamati, Churni, Mathabhanga, Jalangi, Bhagirathi and Padma. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsTaking cue from the success of Sabujayan in Nadia, several other districts have started planting Vetiver to prevent soil erosion along river banks. These districts are East Midnapore, East Burdwan, Hooghly, Cooch Behar, Murshidabad, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar.Vetiver grass is primarily available in Tamil Nadu. To curtail the cost of bringing Vetiver saplings from there, 76 nurseries have been set up in Nadia. Experts from Tamil Nadu and US had visited the nurseries and expressed their satisfaction over their functioning. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe district administration in Nadia has set up six handicraft centres, two each in Nakashipara, Tehatta and Ranaghat, where several items for room decoration, curtains etc. are being manufactured from Vetiver. The room decoration items in particular, are in high demand. Vetiver grass is now being planted along the banks of waterbodies to stop soil erosion. It is also used to purify water. It also helps stop erosion of soil along roads. The farmers are given training about how they should be planted and maintained. “The plantation of the grass to prevent soil erosion, both along river banks and roads, has been highly effective. Also, home decoration items made from Vetiver have helped the artisans to earn money,” said a senior official.last_img read more

Class X student died of suffocation

first_imgKolkata: The preliminary postmortem report of the Class X girl who was found dead in her school washroom on Friday has indicated that she died due to suffocation caused by the polythene bag that was wrapped around her face, cutting off the supply of oxygen. The multiple slash injuries on her wrists were self-inflicted but did not lead to her death. Sleuths investigating the death of Krittika Pal has found similarity of her pattern of suicide to a web series that she would watch on her cell phone. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe suicide note that was recovered from the washroom beside her body clearly indicated that there was some sort of anger and depression within her. However, the sleuths are still in the dark about it. “She has written of somebody trying to inflict injury upon her in the suicide note. She may be suffering from some sort of hallucination or may be there was really somebody whose behaviour had been traumatising her. We need to speak to her parents for further leads but they are yet to recover from the shock,” an investigating officer said. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateChairperson of West Bengal State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborti who visited the school in Ranikuthi on Saturday said the school has informed her that the victim’s mother had told the school authorities after her daughter’s death that she had earlier made suicide attempts. “The school would have been extra cautious if they were informed of this suicidal tendency of the child earlier,” she added.last_img read more