Common, Sheryl Crow, producer Jimmy Jam, soul singer Andra Day and country-pop artist Cam have joined the Recording Academy’s newly-minted task force for diversity and female inclusion. The group includes industry executives, managers and journalists, both women and men, Variety reports.
Panel leader Tina Tchen, the former chief of staff to Michelle Obama, detailed the membership on Wednesday, writing that she’s “honored to lead such an esteemed group of visionaries who possess the experience and passion needed to drive real change in building a more inclusive and equitable music community … This is an important first step made possible by the Recording Academy’s leadership, which recognizes the benefit of examining these issues with fresh eyes.”
Recording Academy chief executive Neil Portnow announced the task force in early February after facing widespread criticism for the lack of female nominees at the 2018 Grammy Awards. (Alessia Cara, who received Best New Artist, was the only woman to win as a solo performer.)
Portnow initially deflected the criticism in a post-ceremony interview with Variety, saying, “It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level… [They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome.” But the CEO later apologized amid the backlash, and he appointed Tchen to lead the task force in March.
The group will work to identify “various barriers and unconscious biases faced by underrepresented communities throughout the music industry and, specifically, across Recording Academy operations and policies,” according to the Academy’s earlier statement.
The panel, expected to meet soon, is soliciting public feedback and suggestions on which policies should be reviewed. Portnow, in a new statement, wrote, “There’s there’s an opportunity for us to effect historic change in attitudes and practices within our industry. We embrace that opportunity in full.”
The Recording Academy Diversity and Inclusion Task Force
Stephanie Alexa, vice president of finance and licensing administration, ATO Records
Michele Anthony, executive vice president and executive management board member, Universal Music Group
Cam, Grammy-nominated artist
Common, Grammy-winning artist
Sheryl Crow, Grammy-winning artist
Andra Day, Grammy-nominated artist
Giselle Fernandez, award-winning television journalist
Jimmy Jam, Grammy-winning artist
Beth Laird, CEO and co-owner, Creative Nation
Debra Lee, chairman and CEO, BET Networks
Rebeca Leon, co-founder and CEO, Lionfish Entertainment
Elizabeth Matthews, CEO, ASCAP
Dr. Stacy L. Smith, founder and director, USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative
Ty Stiklorius, founder and CEO, Friends At Work
Julie Swidler, executive vice president of business affairs and general counsel, Sony Music
Dean Wilson, CEO, SEVEN20