When one considers the powerhouse that is Jay-Z, the name Desiree Perez is often not far from the mind. As the COO of ROC Nation, a position she’s held since 2009, she’s overseen the steady and successful climb of many musical artists–Jay-Z among them. Although private, Desiree Perez did not stand idly by when Neil Portnow, president of Recording Academy, made an insensitive remark regarding women. In this statement, he said that women needed to step up in order to advance their careers.
Naturally, Desiree and other women were not keen on letting Portnow slide with that offensive statement. Pink reportedly said in response, “Women in music don’t need to ‘step up’—women have been stepping since the beginning of time . . . Women OWNED music this year. They’ve been KILLING IT. And every year before this. When we celebrate and honor the talent and accomplishments of women, and how much women STEP UP every year, against all odds, we show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal, and what it looks like to be fair.”
Desiree, along with a group of other women from recording labels, signed a letter to the Recording Academy’s board. In the letter, they stated that the academy was, “woefully out of touch with today’s music, the music business, and even more significantly society.” In addition, they called for Portnow’s resignation. The academy, in turn, has stated that it’s going to put forward efforts to ensure that all forms of bias and barriers are eliminated to promote female advancement.Since Desiree Perez has been a strong supporter of the #MeToo movement among her fellow female artists, it comes as no surprise that she was among those to spearhead the problem presented by Portnow’s comments.