H.E.R., Yolanda Adams & More Named to Leadership Council For Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective

Sue Kwon


A key goal is "acceleration of Black membership within the Academy."

The Recording Academy announced the leadership council for its new Black Music Collective on Thursday (Oct. 22). The 22 names on the list include 11 executives, six artists and three producers.

Eight of the individuals are Grammy winners, including four-time winner Yolanda Adams, three-time winners Terri Lyne Carrington and Derek "MixedByAli" Ali, and two-time winner H.E.R.

The Academy first announced the formation of the Black Music Collective on Sept. 3 -- a group of Black music creators and professionals who share the common goal of amplifying Black voices within the Academy and the music community.

Here are the newly-named members of the leadership council, broken down by profession:

Executives: Brianna Agyemang, Tunde Balogun, Tuma Basa, Catherine Brewton, Phylicia Fant, Heather Lowery, Riggs Morales, Steve Pamon, Ryan Press, Rashid Shabazz, Jamila Thomas.

Artists: Yolanda Adams, Aloe Blacc, Carrington, D-Nice, H.E.R., Rico Love.

Producers: Boi-1da, Om’Mas Keith, Dion "No-I.D." Wilson.

Engineer: Derek "MixedByAli" Ali

Songwriter: Tayla Parx

"This is is a new era of change for the Recording Academy and we are honored to have these leading artists, executives, producers and engineers who are all at the top of their fields join us for such an important moment in our world, our nation and our industry," Harvey Mason jr., chair and interim president/CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement.

Valeisha Butterfield Jones, who on May 11 became the Academy’s first chief diversity & inclusion officer, added: “We’re energized by our partnership with such an esteemed group of Black music leaders who share our mission to foster and accelerate Black representation, equity and inclusion throughout the music industry.”

H.E.R. added: "Our time is now and I'm so excited to add my voice in whatever way I can… "Initiatives like this help give a voice to young and emerging artists who dream of an even bigger future. We're all in this together."

According to an Academy statement: “The collective will serve as a space for members to speak openly about new and emerging opportunities in Black music alongside an inspiring group of groundbreaking Black music creators and business leaders. Leadership has already begun creating and identifying programming that will encourage acceleration of Black membership within the Academy."

Riggs Morales, a Recording Academy trustee (elected by the New York chapter’s board of governors), serves as the collective’s chair. Jeriel Johnson, executive director for the Washington, D.C. chapter, is the executive sponsor.

Six honorary chairs were named last month. They include three multi-Grammy-winning artists (John LegendJimmy Jam and Quincy Jones) and three veteran executives (Debra LeeSylvia Rhone and Jeffrey Harleston). Jam and Lee previously served together on the Recording Academy’s diversity and inclusion task force.

In March 2018, the Recording Academy established a diversity & inclusion task force to examine these and other related issues, both within the Academy and in the broader music community.

Since Dec. 12, 2019, when the task force announced its recommendations, the Academy has taken action on a variety of fronts. Recent initiatives included the hiring of its first chief diversity & inclusion officer; a $1 million donation to and partnership with Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization; alignment with #TheShowMustBePaused movement created by music executives Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang and the development of an industry inclusion rider and toolkit to be released later this year.

Recording Academy Roundtable With Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Valeisha Butterfield Jones | Billboard Pro