Harvey Mason Jr., the interim CEO and chairman of the board of the Recording Academy, has launched a diversity and inclusion initiative. In his memo to Academy members, he said the music industry and the Academy have often alienated their own artists because of a lack of diversity and it is time to address the needs of women and artists of color.
The initiative includes the appointment of a diversity and inclusion officer, provision of more funding to women in music organizations and compliance with the 2018 recommendations of the Academy’s Diversity Task Force.
But the lawyer of ousted CEO Deborah Dugan slammed Mason’s initiatives as “smoke and mirrors” since they were already agreed to during Dugan’s term. Dugan is currently on administrative leave because of misconduct allegations. She has also filed a complaint against the Academy for unequal pay, unlawful retaliation, sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Dugan cited some instances of conflict of interest which influenced the selection of award winners.
Rapper and record producer Sean “Diddy” Combs, in his acceptance of the Industry Icon award, challenged the music industry to get its act together when it comes to diversity. He said black music has never been respected by the Grammys.