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The Feminist Message Behind Lorde's Grammys Dress That You Probably Missed

For one of this year’s nominees for the Grammy's "Album of the Year" prize, avoiding the red carpet was not about sneaking past the cameras as much as it was about making a statement.

Former Grammy-winner and Global Citizen Lorde elected to skip the famous walk from the limo to the venue, ostensibly as a sign of protest. When the media finally did get a glimpse of her inside Madison Square Garden, her outfit confirmed that Lorde’s mood was one that many women shared throughout the night: fed up.

The New Zealand singer’s bright red Valentino dress was amended to include a sewn-in poetry excerpt from the work of Jenny Holzer, a feminist conceptual artist and poet.

Elle Magazine reported that Lorde’s wardrobe choice and decision to protest the red carpet might have been in response to the Grammy’s decision not to give her the chance to perform solo at the awards. Despite her nomination for album of the year, and despite many of her male counterparts receiving their own solo performance, rumors are that Lorde was only offered the chance to perform with another male artist.

Read More: Global Citizens Cleaned Up at the 2018 Grammys

Whether or not this snub was the true reason behind Lorde’s behavior, her statement certainly hit home Sunday night as male artists nearly swept the awards show, with Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, and Kendrick Lamar taking home the night’s top honors. Among the album, record, and song of the year categories, Lorde was the only female artist nominated.

Lorde’s mother took to twitter last week to blatantly call out the inequity at the heart of the Grammy’s, circling a passage in a New York Times article that provided stark statistics about female artists’ representations at the awards show.

At the end of the day, Alessia Cara was the only female artist to win an award in one of the major Grammy categories, taking home the prize for best new artist.

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations Global Goals, and achieving gender equality is goal number five. You can take action on this issue here.

Despite the current state of female representation on music’s biggest stage, the tone of the poem Lorde selected was forward-thinking, hopeful, and emblematic of the changing culture surrounding women in entertainment.


“Take courage, for the worst is a harbinger of the best,” Holzer’s poem reads. “Only dire circumstance can precipitate the overthrow of the oppressor.”