The Recording Academy has announced that the 64th Annual Grammy Awards in 2022 will be produced with an inclusion rider, a contract addendum designed to help ensure equity and inclusion at every level of the production.
Originally developed to address systemic diversity and equity issues in film and television, inclusion riders are provisions in an actor’s or filmmaker’s contract that provides for a certain level of diversity in casting and production staff. The Recording Academy will add its rider as an addendum to a contract between itself and the production company for the Grammys Awards. According to the announcement, “This addendum is a contractual obligation for the production company to make its best effort to recruit, audition, interview, and hire on-stage and off-stage people who have been historically and systematically excluded from the industry.”
The full inclusion rider will be released publicly on Sept. 16, 2021.
The move is the latest in a long line of pro-diversity efforts by the Recording Academy in recent months, including hiring Valeisha Butterfield Jones as its chief diversity officer (she is now co-president) and its partnership with the racial-justice organization Color of Change, among other efforts.
Currently in development, the Inclusion Rider is part of the larger #ChangeMusic initiative and is being created in partnership with Color Of Change, as well as co-authors Kalpana Kotagal (partner, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll), Fanshen Cox (head of strategic outreach, Pearl Street Films), and key contributors Valeisha Butterfield Jones and Ryan Butler (founding director, Warner Music | Blavatnik Center for Music Business at Howard University).
The most recent iteration of the rider for Hollywood was released last spring through #ChangeHollywood, and expanded upon its original legal framework and advocates for intersectional inclusivity, which includes but is not limited to gender, race and ethnicity, as well as LGBTQIA, age and disability considerations.
The Recording Academy has been working to bring Inclusion Riders to the music industry since 2019, the announcement states, adding that the Academy and Color of Change are also in the process of developing a public Rider template for video productions that will be released later this year.
“We’re honored to work alongside Color of Change and the Inclusion Rider’s esteemed co-authors as we take this monumental step to ensure equitable industry standards that support a more diverse and inclusive music community,” said Harvey Mason jr., President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “As the Academy continues its transformational journey, diversifying our industry is at the core of every decision we make. We’re dedicated to fostering an environment of inclusion industry-wide and hope that our efforts set an example for our peers in the music community.”
“There are a lot of unwritten rules in the entertainment industry that create racial exclusion, and at Color Of Change, we know that to change society you have to change the rules,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change. “This Inclusion Rider is a written rule that will change the culture of hiring at the Grammys, and will make inclusion the norm. We are proud to partner with the Recording Academy and hope that this joint effort inspires other entertainment industry leaders to join us in our fight for equity by adopting the Inclusion Rider.”
“Incorporating the Inclusion Rider into the Grammy Awards will have an enormous impact on an industry that has a long history of exclusion and underrepresentation,” said Kalpana Kotagal, Inclusion Rider co-author, civil rights attorney and partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll. “Part of what makes the Inclusion Rider so potent is its adaptability and flexibility. The Grammy Awards Inclusion Rider will include the fundamental elements of the tool, including a commitment to deepening and diversifying hiring pools, setting benchmarks and targets for hiring, collecting and thoroughly analyzing applicant and hiring data and implementing accountability measures.”