Songwriter Sue Ennis and singer Lalah Hathaway have been named co-chairs of the Recording Academy’s national advocacy committee, the organization announced Tuesday (Sept. 10). This is Hathaway’s second time on the committee and first as co-chair; Ennis served as co-chair in 2017, while it is her third time on the committee.
Ennis and Hathaway will join fellow committee members Claudia Brant, Terry Jones, Emily Lazar, Rico Love and Harvey Mason Jr., who also chairs the Recording Academy’s board of trustees and co-chaired the advocacy committee last term alongside saxophonist/vocalist Mindi Abair. Academy president and CEO Deborah Dugan will serve as ex-officio member along with chief industry, government and member relations officer, advocacy and membership Daryl Friedman.
This is the first new committee to convene since the Music Modernization Act (MMA) was signed into law last October.
“Music is the most consumed medium. From your morning drive to the music in the elevator, the music from your favorite show or movie, that playlist when you need a pick-me-up, it surrounds us. As music consumption continues to increase, and the platforms in which we engage with it evolve, we need to have advocacy to protect all the music creators behind those songs,” said Mason Jr. in a statement. “The Recording Academy’s Advocacy Committee is the voice for those creators across the nation — artists, songwriters, producers, engineers, and musicians – to make sure they have a seat at the table and their voices are heard when laws impacting their music are made.”
First on the agenda for the committee this term is the Academy’s annual District Advocate Day, which sees music creators across the country meeting with their members of Congress to push for artist protections. This year’s edition is slated to take place on October 2.
?We are at an inflection point in the music industry,? said Dugan in a statement. ?The MMA was a giant step forward, and now we need to seal the deal in protecting intellectual property and defending creators against exploitative practices. I can’t think of a more qualified committee to take on these challenges than this one.?
In addition to building on the momentum of the MMA, this iteration of the committee will tackle such key issues as encouraging passage of the CASE Act, establishing a performance right on terrestrial radio, pushing the Department of Justice to ensure fair compensation for songwriters during its review of consent decrees, protecting arts funding and defending intellectual property as the U.S. negotiates and ratifies new trade agreements.