Common, Debra Lee Named Members of Recording Academy Diversity Female Inclusion Task Force
On Wednesday (May 9), the Recording Academy has announced a 16-member task force that focuses on diversity and female inclusion. The members of the task force include Grammy Award winners, major label executives, and network CEOs.
The group is led by former chief of staff to former First Lady Michelle Obama, Tina Tchen, the task force included rapper Common, BET CEO Debra Lee, producer Jimmy Jam, Universal Music Group's executive VP Michele Anthony, ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews, and Sony Music executive VP of business affairs Julie Swidler, among others.
The Hollywood Reporter states the task force was created back in February, following criticism regarding the lack of female representation in several categories at this year's Grammy Awards. Recording Academy's CEO Neil Portnow came under fire after he said, women need to "step up" if they wanted to receive more recognition. After receiving backlash, he quickly apologized.
Portnow began working on the task force shortly after, Tchen named as the lead in March. "I'm honored to lead such an esteemed group of visionaries who possess the experience and passion needed to drive real change in building a more inclusive and equitable music community," Tchen said. "This is an important first step made possible by the Recording Academy's leadership, which recognizes the benefit of examining these issues with fresh eyes."
The focus on female inclusion and diversity, the task force will be in charge of identifying "various barriers and unconscious biases faced by underrepresented communities throughout the music industry and, specifically, across Recording Academy operations and policies." This included hiring and promotion practices, Recording Academy membership, and the awards given out at the Grammy's.
Reportedly the task force is set to meet soon and is asking for feedback from the public regarding what they think should be reviewed . and revamped.
"This is an extremely important initiative for us," said John Poppo, chair of the Recording Academy board of trustees. "The Board takes seriously any role the Recording Academy can play in serving our music community, and certainly one that could facilitate increased diversity and inclusion. We are inspired by the prospect of what this task force might accomplish, and we're grateful to Tina and the group's esteemed members for graciously agreeing to partner with us in this effort."
Check out the full board below.
tephanie Alexa, vice president of finance and licensing administration, ATO Records
Michele Anthony, executive vice president and executive management board member, Universal Music Group
Cam, GRAMMY®-nominated artist
Common, GRAMMY-winning artist
Sheryl Crow, GRAMMY-winning artist
Andra Day, GRAMMY-nominated artist
Giselle Fernandez, award-winning television journalist
Jimmy Jam, GRAMMY-winning artist
Beth Laird, CEO and co-owner, Creative Nation
Debra Lee, chairman and CEO, BET Networks
Rebeca Leon, co-founder and CEO, Lionfish Entertainment
Elizabeth Matthews, CEO, ASCAP
Dr. Stacy L. Smith, founder and director, USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative
Ty Stiklorius, founder and CEO, Friends At Work
Julie Swidler, executive vice president of business affairs and general counsel, Sony Music
Dean Wilson, CEO, SEVEN20
15 Rappers Who've Only Gotten Better With Age