Recording Academy establishes Black Music Collective

Collective dedicated to empowering black music creators and professionals

The world’s leading society of music creators, the Recording Academy, is proud to announce the creation of its Black Music Collective (BMC), 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. As a part of the Recording Academy’s commitment to evolving hand-in-hand with its membership, 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.

In July 2020, the Academy announced a partnership with the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, Color of Change, and set forth to create a black music advisory group. The Black Music Collective fulfills this promise and is bringing together creators and business leaders to create a pipeline of future industry trailblazers. Leaders will meet regularly and initiate programs that will encourage participation and accelerate black membership in the Recording Academy.

The esteemed Jeffrey Harleston, Jimmy Jam, Quincy Jones, Debra Lee, John Legend, and Sylvia Rhone 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,” states 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,” says 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.”

In March 2018, the Recording Academy established a third-party task force to examine issues of diversity and inclusion within the Academy and the broader music community. Since the Task Force’s initial assessment, the Academy has taken action on the Task Force’s recommendations and made additional strides to facilitate a culture of belonging while recognizing the need to focus on underrepresented communities. Recent initiatives include the hiring of a Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, a $1 million donation to Color of Change, alignment with #TheShowMustBePaused movement created by Jamila Thomas (Atlantic Records) and Brianna Agyemang (Platoon), and the development of an industry Inclusion Rider and Toolkit to be released later this year.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.