Recording Academy Task Force to Investigate Music Industry



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Faced with the perception of bias in its voting process, The Recording Academy™ is creating a task force to examine issues of inclusion and diversity within the Academy, the broader music community and the Academy’s premiere event, the Grammys.


Leading that task force will be Tina Tchen, chief of staff to former first lady Michelle Obama, who’s gaining the reputation as the go-to lawyer for the entertainment industry when it comes to issues of equality and diversity.


As part of its charter, the task force will identify the various barriers and unconscious biases faced by underrepresented communities throughout the music industry and, specifically, across Recording Academy operations and policies. In an effort to determine pathways toward greater parity at every level of the organization, the task force will look specifically at Recording Academy governance, hiring and promotion practices, membership, awards, and telecast.Grammys


“The music industry faces numerous challenges—from combatting long-held biases to making sure women are represented and respected within the community,” said Tchen.


“This task force is an important initial step by the Recording Academy to demonstrate its commitment to tackling these challenges in a comprehensive way. I am honored to partner with them in this effort and look forward to working with members of the task force as we look to make the music industry a diverse and inclusive community for all.”


This year’s Grammy Awards was a prime example that something was amiss with the awards.



Of the eight awards presented during the telecast, only one – Best New Artist – was given to a woman, Alessia Cara; the full list of 84 categories, which included solo artists and bands, songwriting committees and liner-notes scribes, women didn’t fare much better, percentage-wise.


Last month’s awards show was not an aberration, as Monáe pointed out in a Tweet over the weekend, why have only 9.3 percent of the Grammy nominees in the past five years been women?


With a record of advocacy on behalf of women and girls, Ms. Tchen currently heads the Chicago office of the Buckley Sandler LLP law firm, where she is a partner and leader in advising companies on gender inequity, sexual harassment, and lack of diversity.


Most recently, she played an integral role in spearheading the formation of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which provides legal support to victims of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse in the workplace.


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