The Recording Academy has announced the launch of its Black Music Collective, which it describes as a group of prominent Black music creators and professionals who share the common goal of amplifying Black voices within the Academy and the music community.
The move is part of a wider diversity initiative by the Academy announced earlier this year, which includes the hiring of Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Valeisha Butterfield Jones and a partnership with and $1 million donation to the racial-justice organization Color of Change. While it has been in the works for months, the announcement comes the day after #TheShowMustBePaused announced a list of demands for the greater music industry.
“The collective will serve as 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,” the announcement reads. “Leaders will meet regularly and initiate programs that will encourage participation and accelerate Black membership in the Recording Academy.”
Former BET CEO Debra Lee, Epic Records chair/CEO Sylvia Rhone, Universal Music EVP Jeffrey Harleston and veteran musician-producers Jimmy Jam, Quincy Jones and John Legend will serve as honorary chairs of the Recording Academy BMC. A distinguished leadership committee will be confirmed in the coming weeks and will work in sync with the honorary chairs to propel the collective’s mission. Recording Academy Trustee Riggs Morales and Washington, D.C. Chapter Executive Director Jeriel Johnson will lead the initiative internally.
“The Black Music Collective is necessary to help drive the Recording Academy into a new era. Creating an open space for Black music creators can only benefit our membership as a whole,” said Harvey Mason jr., Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “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.”
“As Black music continues to drive culture, it is essential we grow and maintain representation within the Academy and the music industry,” said Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer of the Recording Academy. “We’re thrilled to help develop the leaders of tomorrow with impactful educational and experiential programs that we will announce in coming weeks.”