Musicians and industry professionals will wear white roses at the Grammy Awards on Saturday, January 28, in solidarity with #TimesUp, a movement dedicated to ending sexual assault and harassment in the workplace, Billboard reports.
The white rose gesture was organized by Roc Nation (the media company founded by Jay-Z) senior VP Meg Harkins and Interscrope/Geffen/A&M Records’ Karen Rait, on Monday, after recognizing that the Grammys had no plans to address sexual assault in its industry. (Jeez, who would have thought.) Harkins and Rait chose the white rose because “it is a practical and traditional accessory with a symbolic color: The suffragettes wore white during their protests and, more recently, Hillary Clinton wore white at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration,” which seems like a stretch, by hey! Maybe protests should be “practical” and “traditional.”
So far, “Him & I” singer Halsey, rapper Rapsody, Kelly Clarkson, Cyndi Lauper, “New Rules” pop powerhouse Dua Lipa, singer/actress/onetime American’s Next Top Model host Rita Ora, and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello have agreed to partake.
Earlier this month, attendees at the Golden Globes wore black (some also wore pins labeled #TimesUp) as a sign of solidarity with the #MeToo movement. The dialogue sprung open by the brave women who came forward last fall (and before then) with stories of abuse at the hands of Harvey Weinstein continued at the awards show that night—who could forget Oprah’s speech? The music industry, which is often forgiving of past abuses, has yet to experience a similar shift. So is this a step in the right direction? Or is it too little too late?
The Golden Globes #TimesUp demonstration of wearing black was planned at least one month in advance of the show; this white rose situation came together in less than a week. Beyond the confusing, rushed logistics of such a thing, it’s hard to imagine white roses taking over the red carpet, visually, the way black clothing did at the Golden Globes—fitting, that it looked like a funeral.
Any gesture of solidarity, big or small, is useful if it inspires conversation and is instituted in a meaningful way—something that extends beyond the two-second action of pinning something to your extremely expensive lapel. If those artists who elect to wear white roses discuss their decision, maybe we’ll get somewhere. And if they don’t, well, that seems to speak to the situation of sexual misconduct in the music industry at large: not enough, and ineffective.