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Shirley Manson, of alternative rock band Garbage, and Fiona Apple turned their performance at the Girl School 2018 music festival into a powerful act of defiance against Recording Academy president Neil Portnow Saturday night.
The duo sang a rendition of Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me,” while Apple sported a homemade T-shirt that said, “Kneel Portnow.” The performance was seen as an act of protest against the president, who said the 2018 Grammys lacked women because female artists in the industry needed to “step up.”
Girl School was the perfect location for the act of defiance. The music festival, hosted by SoundGirls, identifies itself as a “celebration of females challenging the status quo,” according to its website. This year’s festival featured Best Coast, Jay Som, MUNA (who taught a songwriting course), and Soccer Mommy.
Viewers on Twitter loved that the two ‘90s-era artists came together for the performance.
— GIRLSCHOOL (@GirlschoolLA) February 4, 2018
Fiona Apple is a guest at the Shirley Manson show and look at her shirt pic.twitter.com/rg39aWL71G
— steven j. horowitz (@speriod) February 4, 2018
it really really really REALLY blows my mind that despite all the festivals, all the magazines, all the awards shows in the 90s, shirley manson and fiona apple only just met weeks through girlschool LA. that is change in action. pic.twitter.com/UPYRJNfhcc
— eve barlow (@Eve_Barlow) February 4, 2018
Pretty sure Shirley Manson and Fiona Apple doing a cover of Leslie Gore's You Don't Own Me is probably the best video I will see on the internet today. I can close my browser and go outside now.
— Roy P (@meltingrobot) February 5, 2018
I have no words to describe the amazing performance by Shirley Manson at #girlschoolLA. Let alone with Fiona Apple. And an all women orchestra and chorus. I am crying without the actual crying & it feels weird. Also this was day 2??? And we still have day 3 tomorrow?????
— Darthne Mir, Everythingologist (@daphne_mir) February 4, 2018
Shirley Manson and Fiona Apple singing together what kind of heaven is this ?!?!?
— ella (@kelseywinslows) February 4, 2018
Manson and Apple aren’t the only women with strong words for the Portnow. Last week, music industry executives penned a letter to the president, demanding that he step down from his position.
Tess Cagle is a reporter who focuses on politics, lifestyle, and streaming entertainment. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman, Damn Joan, and Community Impact Newspaper. She’s also a portrait, events, and live music photographer in Central Texas.