The Recording Academy Claims It'll Do Better, Even Though It Probably Won't

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The Recording Academy, the organization responsible for the Grammys, says it’ll take steps to ensure diversity and inclusion, following a complaint filed by former Grammy chief Deborah Dugan accusing the Academy of being a “boys’ club” full of white men who contribute to a corrupt and rigged Grammys voting process. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Deadline reports that interim CEO Harvey Mason Jr. issued a memo this week to the Recording Academy’s members claiming he’d be taking immediate steps to address Dugan’s allegations. Mason said the Recording Academy’s Task Force for Diversity and Inclusion—which formed in 2018 after then-Grammys chief Neil Portnow said women artists needed to “step up” if they wanted to win Grammys—will reassemble and work to make five major institutional changes.

They are, per Mason’s memo:

1. The Academy will hire a dedicated Diversity & Inclusion Officer. This person will be hired within the next 90 days.

2. We will establish a fellowship, funded by the Academy, that will be responsible for independent review and reporting of the progress of the Academy’s Diversity & Inclusion efforts. This will be in place within 120 days.

3. We will create a fund to be distributed annually to different “women in music” organizations that will be managed by the D&I Officer. This will go into effect immediately.

4. The Academy will recommit to meeting all 18 of the Task Force Recommendations as outlined in the full report and in a manner that will endure, with the caveat that we will have a deeper exploration, along with the Task Force into voting processes for the GRAMMYS.

5. We are committing to meet with the Task Force to review our progress on these as well as the rest of their eighteen initiatives. This first meeting will happen in 45 days. There will be subsequent follow ups to review progress.

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The urgency is appreciated, but considering the Task Force seems to have accomplished very little since Portnow stepped down, it’s hard to take much stock in another pile of word salad.

It’s also noteworthy that Mason did not address Dugan’s claim that Recording Academy has a problem with sexual harassment, nor her claim that a recording artist accused Portnow of rape during his time at the Academy. Taylor, do not take the bait.

Night blogger, author of GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO PEOPLE YOU HATE.

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