Music’s Recording Academy Addresses Diversity With New Hire

CBx Vibe:Grammy Family” Consequence, DJ Khaled, Kanye West, John Legend

By Gary J. Nix

  • The Recording Academy⁠ has hired new Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Valeisha Butterfield Jones
  • Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability

The Recording Academy⁠, an organization best known for the GRAMMY Awards⁠, has a new Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Valeisha Butterfield Jones. There’s been a lack of Big 4 GRAMMY wins from the artists who lead the culture, in addition to the reported issues within the Recording Academy itself. Butterfield Jones will be tasked with helping move the organization forward, since companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams are 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability, which means there is plenty of room for the Recording Academy to improve.

Why This Matters: Butterfield Jones will need to tap into her wealth of knowledge from prior roles including her work as Global Head of Inclusion for Google, Deputy Director of Public Affairs for International Trade at the US Department of Commerce in the Obama Administration, as well as the National Director of Diversity and inclusion for the Alzheimer’s Association, to help the Recording Academy become more culturally aware and relatable to music artists and fans alike. While we have started to see more women making more noise on the Billboard charts lately, a study from Professor Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative tells a different story. According to the study based on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, female representation as artists was only 22%, with 12% as songwriters and 2% as producers.

Butterfield Jones will need to tap into her wealth of knowledge from prior roles including her work as Global Head of Inclusion for Google

It’s important to note that the recent trend of companies hiring Chief Diversity Officers as an apparent solution to a public relations nightmare has left a bad taste in some peoples’ mouths. However, 50% of consumers said that brands seeking to be more culturally relevant should be inclusive of all types of people, according to Magna Global.

Furthermore, failures of efficacy for those who’ve held the title due to unreasonable amounts of problems on their plate, or unrealistic expectations can only exacerbate fears that this type of appointment is nothing but a pr stunt. With that being said, it’s hard to imagine a woman with bonafide credentials like Butterfield Jones’ would accept a role such as this, without the ability to build the type of programs for which she’s known.

Situational Awareness: The key here is to remember that having someone in this type of position is better than the alternative of not. Additionally, because this step is often taken after a series of issues have occurred, a quick fix is highly unlikely. It behooves us to give Butterfield Jones time to work her magic. We owe it to her.

CBx Vibe:Grammy Family” Consequence, DJ Khaled, Kanye West, John Legend

CONTRIBUTOR

Gary J. Nix

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