The Recording Academy is launching the Black Music Collective as part of its push for more diversity in music, and icons Quincy Jones, John Legend, Debra Lee, Jimmy Jam, Jeffrey Harleston and Sylvia Rhone will serve as honorary chairs of the new initiative.
The Black Music Collective, or BMC, is made up of Black music creators and professionals with the goal of amplifying Black voices within the Academy and music community at large. Members can speak openly about new opportunities in Black music across genres and how to drive more representation.
The formation of the group comes after the Recording Academy pledged back in July to create a music advisory group in partnership with Color of Change.
A leadership committee will be confirmed in the coming weeks and will work with the honorary chairs in encouraging participation among members and initiate programs to boost more Black membership in the Recording Academy. Recording Academy trustee Riggs Morales and Washington, D.C. chapter executive director Jeriel Johnson will lead the initiative internally.
“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,” Harvey Mason Jr., chair and interim president/CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement. “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.”
“As Black music continues to drive culture, it is essential we grow and maintain representation within the Academy and the music industry,” Valeisha Butterfield Jones, chief diversity and inclusion officer of the Recording Academy, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to help develop the leaders of tomorrow with impactful educational and experiential programs that we will announce in coming weeks.”
In addition to the recent hiring of Butterfield Jones as part of the recommendations by a task force led by Time’s Up’s Tina Tchen, the Recording Academy also recently made a $1 million donation to Color of Change and aligned with Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, the founders of #TheShowMustBePaused movement. The Academy is also developing an industry Inclusion Rider and Toolkit to be released later this year.