Mere hours after Sean “Diddy” Combs gave the Grammys “365 days to get this s*** together,” it appears the Recording Academy got the message.
Interim CEO Harvey Mason Jr. sent out a memo to the Academy’s 25,000 members Sunday morning, detailing a five-step diversity and inclusion plan for the organization to follow for the foreseeable future.
“Six months ago, when I put my hat in the ring to be your Chair, I did so because I believed that the Academy could do better — could be better,” Mason wrote in the memo. “The music we create has always reflected the best of ourselves and our world. But what was true of music has historically not been true of the music business as a whole. Too often, our industry and Academy have alienated some of our own artists — in particular, through a lack of diversity that, in many cases, results in a culture that leans towards exclusion rather than inclusion.”
The plan’s initiatives included hiring a diversity and inclusion officer within the next 90 days, funding women in music organizations and promising to meet the recommendations from the Diversity Task Force the Academy implemented in February 2018.
“In entering this role six months ago, I was fortunate to be building on courageous and inspiring work,” the memo continued. “Artists — especially women and artists of color — had long begun demanding transparency and taking on our traditional power structure. They have found allies across the industry who believe that we can do better and have joined the fight for change.”
The Grammys have had a tumultuous week, beginning with former Academy CEO Deborah Dugan’s accusations of sexism and racial discrimination within the organization, including claims that the Grammy Awards are rigged. In a public statement, Dugan’s lawyers condemned Mason’s memo, calling the plan “smoke and mirrors.”
“If the past ten days have shown anything, it is that the current Chair is not the appropriate individual to effectuate meaningful change at the Academy.”