The Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason, Jr. spoke exclusively to BLACK ENTERPRISE about the organization’s mission to increase diversity and representation in the music industry
The Recording Academy, the organization that presents the annual Grammy Awards, is taking another step towards progress and inclusion with the announcement of its new DREAM Initiative.
DREAM – an acronym for Diversity Reimagined by Engaging All MusicMakers – was created by the Academy’s DEI team to support and empower music creators who identify as Black Americans, women, LGBTQIA+, Pan-Asian, Latinx, Indigenous, disabled, and/or Gen Z. In addition to spotlighting their contributions to the music industry, the Recording Academy established member resource groups to uplift music professionals in these eight specific communities.
Source: The Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason, Jr. (Photo By Michael Kovac- Recording Academy)
“[It’s] something we’re really proud of,” Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason, Jr. told BLACK ENTERPRISE in an exclusive interview. “The point of it is to make sure that we’re listening, we’re learning, we’re interacting with different groups, and…we’re hearing from some people that didn’t always have their voice heard.”
Mason says the Academy is committed to addressing past injustices and creating safe spaces for underrepresented music creators.
“We’re trying to do a better job,” he said.
To better understand and represent these groups, the 65-year-old organization facilitates interactive listening sessions to engage with diverse music creators.
“We invite each group to sit with us and to sit with the members of the leadership team and the staff at the Academy, and tell us everything,” says Mason. “Tell us the good, tell us the bad. Tell us the things we could be doing better. Tell us the things we’re missing,” he added. “We need these groups to pull our coattails a little bit when there’s things that we need to pay attention to.”
Since being appointed CEO, Mason says the organization has focused on ensuring that all genres and communities are represented and honored.
“We have enough people feeling left out. We have enough people in groups feeling like they’re scratching to get heard. And that’s not how it’s supposed to be. It’s not how it’s supposed to be in anything, but specifically around music.”
Under Mason’s leadership, the Academy has made significant efforts to transform in response to longstanding criticism for a lack of racial and gender diversity.
Additionally, the Academy has launched dozens of new initiatives and partnerships including the Black Music Collective, Women in the Mix Study, GLAAD Partnership, and the HBCU Love Tour.
Source: Black Enterprise