During the Clive Davis pre-Grammy gala, Sean “Diddy” Combs voiced his frustration toward the mistreatment of Black artists and the exclusion of diversity inflicted by the Recording Academy.
According to Black Enterprise Combs’ stated:
“Truth be told, hip-hop has never been respected by the Grammys. Black music has never been respected by the Grammys—to the point that it should be,” Diddy continued. “For years, we have allowed institutions that have never had our best interests at heart to judge us. And that stops right now. I’m officially starting the clock. You’ve got 365 days to get this s–t together.”
Following Combs’ statement, the Recording Academy announced the development of a diversity initiative in collaboration with its Diversity Task Force. CNN reports Harvey Mason Jr., Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Recording Academy, addressed the situation with a message to its members:
“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, 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,” he added.
CNN reports that 17 out of 18 initiatives advised by the Diversity Task Force were agreed to by the Recording Academy. They include:
- The hiring of a Diversity and Inclusion Officer within 90 days
- The development of an Academy funded fellowship that will be responsible for independent review and reporting on the Academy’s progress on diversity and inclusion. The establishment of the fellowship is to be in place within 120 days
- The creation of an annual fund that will be allocated to different “women in music” organizations to be effective immediately
The Academy is set to meet with the Diversity Task Force in 45 days to review the progress on the initiatives.