Looks like Canada’s Juno Awards didn’t get the year-of-the-women memo, after criticism that female artists were earlier underrepresented at the 2018 Grammy Awards.
In all, six awards were given out at the country’s pop music awards during a nationwide live telecast, and male artists won most of them. Shawn Mendes won the Juno Fan Choice award, Daniel Caesar beat out three women artists — Reyez, Jhyve and Keshia Chanté — to win for best R&B/soul recording of the year for “Shooter,” and Tory Lanez won for best rap recording.
Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie, who died in Oct. 2017 of terminal brain cancer, aged 53 years, was named artist of the year. Downie beat out Caesar, Shania Twain, Ruth B and Lights, also known as Valerie Anne Poxleitner.
Newcomer Jesse Reyes was the only woman to be singled out with an award during the televised portion of the Junos.
Reyez and indie rockers Arcade Fire led the nominations list for the 2018 Junos with four each going into the national music awards show. Arcade Fire, with Regine Chassagne as a founding member, won the best album honor Sunday night for Everything Now, beating out contenders like Shania Twain and Ruth B.
As the Canadian music industry, like its American counterpart, struggles with a lack of female representation, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Junos, raised the representation of female artists by having Reyes, Diana Krall, Light, Sarah Harmer and Avery Keenainak perform.
And the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns got shout outs at the Canadian awards show. “It’s time for change. It’s time for women to be recognized for our accomplishments, and our value to this industry,” Buffy St. Marie, who earlier won for best indigenous music album during a pre-telecast awards show, said during the live CBC telecast.
“Because it’s not here yet. We need to be at the forefront and an advocate for change… and now it’s time to do that,” she added. The push for equality for women was also cited by federal heritage minister Melanie Joly, who reiterated her government’s commitment to get Canada’s media industries to gender parity by 2020.
Even before the Junos were handed out in Vancouver this weekend, the award show organizers had a #MeToo moment when the rock band Hedley pulled out of performing amid sexual misconduct allegations against the group.
On a lighter note, Canadian crooner Michael Buble hosted the awards show in his hometown of Vancouver. That followed Buble last year dropping out as Junos host after his son Noah was diagnosed with cancer. Buble walked the red carpet into the Canadian awards show with wife Luisana Lopilato on his arm.
“You can’t know what it means to me. It’s been a couple years since I’ve been on stage. And it means more than you’ll know to be able to come back here, in my hometown, in front of my family and my friends and my city and my country,” Buble said when arriving on stage to host the awards show.