Recording Academy Partners With, Donates $1 Million to Color of Change to Advance Diversity in Music

Organizations will launch a Black music advisory group and a campaign to attract new Black voting members to the Academy

Last Updated: July 7, 2020 @ 7:03 AM

The Recording Academy has donated $1 million to Color of Change and partnered with the racial justice organization to promote social change and advance diversity within the music industry, the groups announced Tuesday.

Specifically, Color of Change will work with the Recording Academy to provide more power to Black music creators and professionals within the industry.

The partnership will include the creation of a Black music advisory group — a membership campaign that aims to drive new Black voting members to the Academy — along with an industry-wide diversity and inclusion summit. The groups will also partner in additional advocacy and legislative efforts.

Moreover, Color of Change will provide advisory support on further developing and implementing the Academy’s previously announced industry inclusion rider and tool kit, which will be introduced later this year.

“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,” Valeisha Butterfield Jones, chief diversity and inclusion officer for the Recording Academy, said 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.”

“Music has the power to reach new people and fuel social progress,” Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, said in a statement. “We look forward to building a long-term partnership with the Recording Academy and hope the work between our two membership-based non-profits will advance quickly accelerating changes in the industry.”

The Recording Academy has been taking strides to overhaul its membership and advance diversity since last year when an inclusion task force chaired by Tina Tchen issued a set of recommendations for change. One of those recommendations was appointing a chief diversity and inclusion officer by May 1. Butterfield Jones joined the Academy in April of this year not long after the task force criticized the Grammys for not fully implementing the recommendations.

The task force was formed after the former Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow stepped down for making comments in 2018 saying female recording artists needed to “step up” if they wanted to advance in the music industry and succeed at the Grammys.

Progress and future announcements regarding the Recording Academy’s diversity and inclusion efforts can be found here.

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