Staff and Wire Reports
SANTA MONICA — The Recording Academy has announced the creation of a Black Music Collective aimed at “amplifying Black voices” within the organization and in the music community at large.
The collective will be led by honorary chairs Jeffrey Harleston, Jimmy Jam, Quincy Jones, Debra Lee, John Legend and Sylvia Rhone.
“The Black Music Collective is necessary to help drive the Recording Academy into a new era,” Academy chairman/CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said in a statement. “Creating an open space for Black music creators can only benefit our membership as a whole. 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.”
According to the academy, the collective will be a “space for members to speak openly about new and emerging opportunities in Black music across all genres and identify ways to drive more representation.”
“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, the academy’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, said. “We’re thrilled to help develop the leaders of tomorrow with impactful educational and experiential programs that we will announce in coming weeks.”
The launch of the Black Music Collective follows the Recording Academy’s recent partnership with Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, in July, which set forth to create a Black music advisory group.
The collective fulfills that promise and is bringing together creators and business leaders to create a pipeline of future industry trailblazers. Leaders will meet regularly and initiate programs that will encourage participation and accelerate Black membership in the Recording Academy.
In March 2018, the Recording Academy established a third-party task force to examine issues of diversity and inclusion within the Academy and the broader music community. The Academy has since taken action on the task force’s initial assessment and recommendations and has made additional strides to facilitate a culture of belonging while recognizing the need to focus on underrepresented communities.