UPDATED: The Recording Academy announced that it has extended membership invitations to more than 2,300 established music professionals. As part of the organization’s stated drive toward greater diversity, it notes that the 2020 class of invitees is 48% female, 21% African-American or African descent, 8% Hispanic, 3% Asian-American and Pacific Islander and 5% “other.” The Recording Academy’s current membership is 26% female and 25% from traditionally underrepresented communities, according to the announcement.
“We are proud of the strides we’ve made toward ensuring our membership is diverse and inclusive, which is reflected within this new pool of invitees,” said Harvey Mason jr., Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “While this progress signifies meaningful impact, there’s still more work to be done. We’ll continue to fight to achieve inclusive representation across gender, race, age, national origin, sexual orientation, and beyond within our community. Furthermore, we’re excited to see how the contributions of the incoming new member class will help inspire meaningful change within the music industry.”
“Building out our membership body is a process that encourages inclusivity from start to finish, and it’s a privilege to extend invitations to the 2020 class of invitees that represent the wide-ranging backgrounds and crafts that makes the music industry so unique,” said Kelley Purcell, Senior Director of Member Outreach at the Recording Academy. “These individuals will become the driving force behind the Recording Academy, and it’s encouraging to see how our membership continues to evolve each year as we take steps toward building a more inclusive and vibrant community.”
Convening virtually in April, the Recording Academy’s Peer Review Panel of music creators evaluated new member submissions considering a range of criteria — including craft, genre and overall diversity, according to the announcement. The more than 2,300 new invitations were extended under the Academy’s community-driven and peer-reviewed membership model. Implemented in 2018 in an ongoing effort to build a more representative and relevant membership body, the annual member submission process entails two community-centered key elements: industry recommendations and peer review.
In December of last year, the Recording Academy pledged to implement 17 of 18 reforms set forth by its Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, including increasing outreach to diverse communities and doubling the number of women voters by 2025. Specifically, this means 2,500 new women voters by the year 2025.
To celebrate the incoming new member class, Grammy.com Editor-In-Chief Justin Dwayne Joseph hosted a moderated discussion on June 24 titled “Your Academy: Welcoming the 2020 New Member Class.” Featuring new invitees and existing members, the conversation showcased a look into what it means to be a member of the Academy, the initiatives worked on year-round, progress members hope to see within the Academy, and diversity and inclusion in the music industry at large. Watch the video here.
In order to participate in the process for the upcoming Grammy Awards, new members have to accept their invitations by Sept. 15, 2020. The first voting ballot opens Sept. 30 and closes Oct. 12. The 63rd Grammy Awards are set to take place Jan. 31, 2021, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.