Remember when country radio consultant Keith Hill made a stunning comment about female artists being the tomatoes in the salad that nobody wants to eat? (Cue favorite emoji 🙄). This didn’t go over well and became known as Tomato-Gate. (Like me, you might have been in the bubble of your pop world when it went viral.)
Sometimes ridiculous ideas lead to silver linings that just need a little time to reveal themselves.
“The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that, he said.
“If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out,” he said.
Then Nashville darling Kacey Musgraves won a GRAMMY for Album Of The Year. Not Best Country Album. Best Everything.
So thank you, Keith. I think.
Silver linings for us tomatoes are all around us. Hillary didn’t win. For some that was a blessing. For others devastating. I think we can all agree though, political passions aside, that an opportunity for women in general to sit at the helm was lost. But the silver lining is that she loosened the lid for all women. Two years later more of us were elected to Congress. Nancy is back. A bevy of promising ladies are running for president and it’s starting to feel like it’s not unusual. Because it shouldn’t be.
(Enter Mayor Pete. If not 2020 then maybe he’ll loosen the lid for an LBGTQ POTUS in 2024.)
But I digress. After Neil Portnow’s 2018 Grammy gaff about women needing to step up (which I personally believe was an unfortunate clumsy blunder made by a lovely man), Deborah Dugan was selected to replace him as Recording Academy President/CEO. I wonder if that poetic gender reversal would have come to pass if Neil hadn’t stumbled.
It’s no secret that traditional country music is not my jam. I’m not the audience for trucks and beer — a tiresome duo (imo) defaulted to mostly by LETTUCE! (I know, I know. “When I Drive Your Truck” is amazing but honestly I still wonder if “trucks” was a primary compulsory ingredient even before the writers stumbled on the heartbeat of the song.
To be fair not all country hits me the same way especially it’s not relying on the usual furniture. I gave big love to Brandy Clark long before she got her GRAMMY Nom. because she is a F*CKING FANTASTIC songsmith. And I wrote about how much I dug Kacey’s 2015 Pageant Material as well.
Recently I was on a panel where the organizer purposely tapped women to participate but hoped that nobody would ask how we felt about being a woman behind the mixing board, leading the orchestra, propping up an artist — it was a little experiment— if nobody asked we’d know we’ve made progress.
Some day we won’t be making a point about more and more women joining the fray because it’ll be the natural course of events. I guess just the fact that we’re still writing about it means we’re still in transition.
You’ve heard the expression: "She did everything he did, but she did it in heels”? Well, we shouldn’t have to do it in heels. Women should wear whatever footwear is comfortable.
Anyway, I happen to adore tomatoes. Preferably garden grown, salt and pepper, a little balsamic. I can’t imagine a salad without them. In fact throw in everything. Cucumbers, carrots, artichokes, feta, croutons, sprouts, raisins (well, maybe not raisins). My point being, how boring a salad of just lettuce!
Ironically, misguided opinions such as the one that fueled tomato-gate can actually drive us. I have found I’m more motivated by ignorant barbs than from welcomed accolades (but feel free to bring on the accolades). Women are great already. Putting us down can ignite our fierceness and only make us greater. So watch out Keiths of the world. In the words of the legendary Pat Benatar: Hit us with your best shot. Fire away.
Here’s a pic of my favorite tomato from my garden. I wonder what it means:
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