As promised, the Recording Academy has released the first official inclusion rider for the Grammy Awards, a contract addendum “designed to be a robust tool to ensure equity and inclusion at every level during the production of the 64th Annual Grammy Awards,” which take place in Los Angeles on Jan. 31, 2022.
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 — and now, the country’s biggest music-awards show — that provides for a certain level of diversity in casting and production staff.
The Recording Academy originally announced the plan to incorporate an inclusion rider in August, partnering with Color Of Change as part of the larger #ChangeMusic Initiative. The full eight-page inclusion rider — which includes extensive segments on Recruitment, Audition and Interview Objectives; Hiring Objectives; Data Collecting and more — can be viewed here.
Co-authors include Kalpana Kotagal (partner, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll), Fanshen Cox (production and development executive, Pearl Street Films) and key contributors Valeisha Butterfield Jones (co-president, Recording Academy) and Allie-Ryan Butler (founding director, Warner Music/ Blavatnik Center for Music Business at Howard University).
“I am proud that the Academy is leading the charge in releasing an Inclusion Rider for the music community that counters systematic bias,” said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. “We were proud to work with a very diverse crew last year for the Grammy Awards, and this is the culmination of a years-long effort to create a rider for the production of the Grammys. But this is only the beginning. We are commited to putting in the real work required to help create a pipeline of diverse talent and drastically change representation.”
“With the Inclusion Rider, Color of Change and the Recording Academy are working to change the rules that have enabled systemic discrimination in the music business for far too long,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change. “The Inclusion Rider is a concrete accountability mechanism aimed at breaking through an endless stream of empty commitments. It will ensure that Black people finally gain the authority in the industry that matches their essential contributions to it. An initiative of #ChangeMusic, the Inclusion Rider changes the rules of the industry’s hiring and management practices to open up opportunities for work and promotion that have long been denied.”
“The Grammy Awards Inclusion Rider includes the tool’s four key elements which are essential to driving improvement in representation and equity: a commitment to deepening and diversifying hiring pools, benchmarks and targets for hiring, the collection and analysis of applicant and hiring data, and strict accountability measures,” said civil rights attorney Kalpana Kotagal, Inclusion Rider co-author and partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll. “By committing to use the Inclusion Rider for its 2022 production, the Grammy Awards is not only ensuring a more equitable and diverse hiring process, it is also setting an important standard for inclusivity and representation at award shows moving forward.”