The Recording Academy Just Established a Black Music Collective
The Recording Academy is continuing its diversity efforts. On Sept. 3, the organization announced the creation of its Black Music Collective, which will work to amplify Black voices in the Recording Academy and the music industry.
The organization’s Diversity Task Force report
In May 2018, Tina Tchen and 18 others created the Recording Academy Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. The Task Force investigated the Recording Academy’s national governance committees, nomination review committees, Board of Trustees, and the President/CEO.
A 47-page-long report by the Task Force was published on Dec. 12, 2019. The report found problems within the Recording Academy and larger problems in the music industry, including:
- “Underrepresentation of women in the music industry, particularly within the industry’s technical fields.
- Prevalence of harassment, discrimination, and/or assault as a result of informal or isolated work environments.
- Restriction of airtime or participation by female artists, particularly in country music.
- Underrepresentation of individuals of lower socioeconomic means due to high costs of entry.
- Lack of equal access to resources for disabled individuals.
- Marginalization of certain ethnicities into particular roles or genres.
- Phasing out of older generation music industry professionals.”
The Recording Academy created a Black Music Collective
Jeffrey Harleston, Jimmy Jam, Quincy Jones, Debra Lee, John Legend, and Sylvia Rhone are honorary chairs of the Recording Academy’s new Black Music Collective. The creation of the committee comes from the organization’s promise to create a Black music advisory group.
“The Black Music Collective is necessary to help drive the Recording Academy into a new era. Creating an open space for Black music creators can only benefit our membership as a whole,” said Harvey Mason jr., Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy, in a press release. “Through the past few months, I’ve been personally invested in propelling this collective along with Chapter leadership within the Academy. Together, we will elevate Black music creators within our organization and the industry at large.”
Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer of the Recording Academy, added, “As Black music continues to drive culture, it is essential we grow and maintain representation within the Academy and the music industry… We’re thrilled to help develop the leaders of tomorrow with impactful educational and experiential programs that we will announce in coming weeks.”
The Recording Academy partnered with Color of Change
Before kicking off the Black Music Collective, the Recording Academy partnered with Color of Change, a racial justice organization that pushes “decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.” The Recording Academy also donated $1 million to Color of Change.
“Music plays a profound role in shaping our culture, and Black music has been the cornerstone in the development of the world’s dynamic soundscape,” said Butterfield Jones in a statement. “The Recording Academy has entered a new chapter of transformative change, and we are honored to partner with Color of Change as we work together to set new standards to elevate Black music creators and build a more diverse and equitable industry.”
With the creation of the Black Music Collective and partnership with Color of Change, the Recording Academy is working to implement strategies to help Black music creators and professionals.