Grammy Nominations, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, CIA Beth Kimber: Broadsheet December 10
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Angela Merkel’s replacement sounds familiar, Lean In tries to distance itself from Sheryl Sandberg, and women are poised to win big at the Grammys. Have an excellent Monday—and see you at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit this week.
• Sounds good! Let’s start the week with a little good news: Women dominated the 2019 Grammy nominations, getting the majority of the nods in the four biggest categories—record of the year, song of the year, album of the year, and best new artist.
This would be something to celebrate in any year, but it’s especially heartening in light of the debacle that was last year’s Grammys, when only one woman (Alessia Cara) won in a major category, the sole female nominee for album of the year (Lorde) was not offered a performance slot, and outraged fans launched the hashtag #GrammysSoMale. What’s more, it’s clear that 2018 wasn’t simply an off year, as demonstrated by a report that found that women accounted for just 9% of nominees in the last six Grammy Awards.
Despite the cringe-worthy response of now-outgoing CEO Neil Portnow (he told female artists they needed to “step up” in order to get more recognition), the Recording Academy responded to the outrage over the 2018 awards with action. It created a task force led by Time’s Up leader and former Michelle Obama chief of staff Tina Tchen, invited about 900 new voters, many of whom are female, non-white, and/or under 40, and added more women to its nomination-review committees. The organization also increased the number of nominees per category from five to eight.
The moves appear to have paid off. Among the highlights: Cardi B, Brandi Carlile, H.E.R., Janelle Monae, and Kacey Musgraves account for five of the eight nominees for album of the year. Best new artist is even more women-driven, with Chloe x Halle, H.E.R., Dua Lipa, Margo Price, Bebe Rexha, and Jorja Smith filling six of of the eight nominations. (Billboard also points out that this year was something of a coup for LGBTQ artists, including Carlile, Monae, and Rexha.) While we don’t yet know how many women will be performing during the awards—much less how many will actually win—the trend is certainly moving in the right direction.
Note to other arts and cultural awards (we’re looking at you, Golden Globes): Don’t just apologize. Take action—it works!
A quick FYI from your Broadsheet team: We are en route to Laguna Niguel for our annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit, which kicks off tomorrow at 4:15 p.m. Pacific/7:15 p.m. Eastern. We’ll have a preview for you shortly, but in the meantime, you can check out the livestream and agenda here.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Merkel 2.0. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s successor as head of the Christian Democratic Union party is Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. The new party leader sounds a lot like Merkel—moderate, consensus-building, and humble—and her new position makes her likely to replace Merkel as chancellor, too. New York Times
• Secret agent. The new head of the CIA’s clandestine arm is Beth Kimber, the first woman to be director of operations. A 34-year CIA veteran who became acting deputy director while Gina Haspel transitioned to CIA director, Kimber will be responsible for “strengthen[ing] national security and foreign policy objectives through the clandestine collection of human intelligence and by conducting Covert Action as directed by the President.” Classic CIA stuff. CNN
• More than hugging. After his current and former employees signed a petition accusing him of fostering a culture of sexual harassment with “forced hugging,” Ted Baker CEO Ray Kelvin will take a leave of absence. The fashion brand’s board said it was made aware of “further serious allegations” against Kelvin than what has been reported so far. BBC
• Leaning away from SS. This Nellie Bowles story examines Lean In’s attempt to distance itself from its founder and sole funder, Sheryl Sandberg—a task that doesn’t seem to be going well for the nonprofit. It’s also an interesting look into the hazards of pairing a feminist movement with a powerful corporate exec. New York Times
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Gilt founder and Girls Who Code chairman Alexis Maybank joins the board of education technology company 2U. Hannah Karp was promoted to editorial director at Billboard magazine, a position that sat vacant for two-and-a-half years.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• The business of politics. A long Politico Magazine piece delves into the challenges faced not by women running for office, but by women working in politics and trying to get to the highest levels of high-profile campaigns. Women are relegated to fundraising, without being able to participate in strategic campaign decisions—and they’re losing out on the million-dollar deals offered political consultants. Politico Magazine
• Mystery woman. A woman said to be Vladimir Putin’s daughter appeared on TV in Russia for the first time—a milestone following a 20-year taboo on Russian media reporting on Putin’s family or personal life. Katerina Tikhonova is 32 and director of a scientific institute, the younger of two daughters Putin has alluded to but never brought into the public eye. New York Times
• Verdict’s in. James Fields Jr., the white supremacist who drove his car into a crowd and killed Heather Heyer at last year’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, was convicted of first degree murder last week. NPR
• No early release. Cyntoia Brown, the woman convicted as a teenager for shooting a man who solicited sex from her while she was a victim of sex trafficking, must serve 51 years in prison before she will be eligible for release, Tennessee’s Supreme Court ruled. Many people, including Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West, have criticized Brown’s life sentence and last week’s ruling. Huffington Post
ON MY RADAR
The ‘woke’ men who still want housewives Medium
Why are all of Spotify’s most-streamed artists men? Vox
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade opened up to Oprah about their infertility struggle Glamour