On Wednesday, the Recording Academy announced a 16-member task force, which will work to forward diversity and female inclusion in the music industry. The panel includes a number of Grammy-winning artists, like Common, Sheryl Crow, Cam, Andra Day, and Jimmy Jam. As reported in Billboard, the task force will be led by Tina Tchen, the former chief of staff to former First Lady Michelle Obama.
As noted in an announcement earlier today, the task force will focus on identifying “various barriers and unconscious biases faced by underrepresented communities throughout the music industry and, specifically, across Recording Academy operations and policies.” The task force will look at governance, hiring and promotion practices, membership, awards, and the Grammy Awards and broadcast to accomplish this end.
The panel’s Grammy-nominated and -winning musicians will join forces with a number of industry bigwigs, including ATO Records’ vice president of finance and licensing administration, Stephanie Alexa; Universal Music Group’s executive vice president Michele Anthony; Creative Nation’s CEO and co-owner, Beth Laird; BET Networks’ chairman and CEO, Debra Lee; Lionfish Entertainment’s co-founder and CEO, Rebeca Leon; ASCAP’s CEO, Elizabeth Matthews; Sony Music’s executive vice president of business affairs and general counsel, Julie Swidler, and SEVEN20’s CEO, Dean Wilson.
Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow announced the task force in early February—an announcement that was spurred by criticism of the lack of female representation at several categories during the Grammy’s this year. The announcement also comes on the heels of major controversy over Portnow’s comments addressing the criticism, when the CEO announced that women needed to “step up” if they wanted to have a larger role in the industry—Portnow quickly apologized for the statement, though several members of the academy have called for his resignation.
With the task force meeting in person soon, the group has invited public feedback about what should be reviewed and considered. You can head here to offer your own feedback.