In the Midst of the Grammys Scandal, Recording Academy Announces New Diversity Initiatives - Black Enterprise

In the Midst of the Grammys Scandal, Recording Academy Announces New Diversity Initiatives

Grammy Award-winning artist Lizzo (Wikimedia)

Following the controversy surrounding the Grammys’ selection process and lack of diversity (which Sean Combs called out), the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has developed a diversity initiative with its diversity task force.

According to CNN, Recording Academy chairman and interim CEO Harvey Mason Jr. detailed the initiative in a message sent to his organization’s members Sunday morning. “Six months ago, when I put my hat in the ring to be your Chair, I did so because I believed that the Academy could do better–could be better,” Mason wrote, according to CNN. “The music we create has always reflected the best of ourselves and our world. But what was true of music has historically not been true of the music business as a whole.”

“Too often, our industry and Academy have alienated some of our own artists–in particular, through a lack of diversity that, in many cases, results in a culture that leans towards exclusion rather than inclusion,” he added.

Mason wrote that the Academy has agreed to implement 17 out of 18 initiatives suggested by its diversity task force. 

The initiatives include the following:

  • The Academy will hire a dedicated diversity and inclusion officer within the next 90 days.
  • The organization will establish a fellowship, funded by the Academy, that will be responsible for independent review and reporting of the progress of the Academy’s diversity and inclusion efforts. This will be in place within 120 days.
  • Effective immediately, an annual will be created to benefit different “women in music” organizations that will be managed by the diversity and inclusion officer. 
  • The Academy will recommit to meeting all 18 of the task force recommendations in a manner that will endure as well as exploring the Grammys’ voting processes.

“The movement to ensure that the Academy–and the music business–is truly representative of artists and their audiences has been going on for a long time,” Mason says. “And that struggle will continue, not just for women and people of color, but for members of the LGBTQ+ community, for artists struggling to make ends meet, for those suffering from addiction or mental health challenges, for people of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds, and for groups we may not even recognize today.”