The Recording Academy has given itself a big pat on the back for allegedly diversifying its latest class of Grammy voters. The governing body behind the award ceremonies announced demographic details of the 2,710 new musicians and industry professionals invited to join the organization in 2021.
In a statement, the Recording Academy claimed that 55 percent of this new class are from “traditionally underrepresented groups.”
“Membership is the Academy’s change agent—our members drive everything we do,” Ruby Marchand, chief industry officer at the Recording Academy, said in a statement. “I’m inspired by the potential for each invited music creator and business professional to lend their creativity and passion to our organization.”
Per a release from the Academy, its existing membership is “26 percent female and 27 percent from traditionally underrepresented groups.” In addition to the 55 percent of invitees from “traditionally underrepresented groups,” 48 percent of new invitees are women.
The timing of this announcement comes less than a week after the Recording Academy settled out of court with its former CEO Deborah Dugan, who was publicly ousted in 2020 just ten days before the Grammys. Dugan had brought a workplace discrimination claim against the Recording Academy shortly after her dismissal and the two parties were set to engage in what was initially set to be public arbitration hearings beginning next month. Then, last week, the Academy and Dugan made a joint statement that they had settled their dispute privately and would not be discussing details of the agreement.
Dugan herself was made CEO in late 2019 as public opinion continued to turn against the Recording Academy for its lack of diversity and secretive voting practices. Though she was brought in as an agent of change, Dugan was only at the helm for five months before she was publicly put on administrative leave and ultimately fired. Since then, the Recording Academy has continued to grapple with its image by dropping the word “Urban” from Rap and R&B categories (though the term is still used for Latin music categories), eliminating secret nominating committees, and more.