Former Google executive Valeisha Butterfield Jones will be taking on a newly appointed role that will help make the Grammy’s more inclusive. The Recording Academy is sticking to their pledge on diversity with the appointment of its first Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer. Effective May 11, Jones will join the executive leadership team and report directly to Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO Harvey Mason Jr. Her tasks are to apply inclusionary practices across all areas of the Recording Academy, through designing, building, and implementing an inclusion plan for underrepresented communities and creators.
The Academy’s Task Force for Diversity & Inclusion released its final report in December, which included that the organization develops a diversity & inclusion officer position effective by May 1. Last year, the organization faced backlash related to race and gender. Women and artists of color were continually being excluded when it came down to being rewarded for their talents. Many Black music categories also faced exclusion in its annual broadcast, which became an issue as well.
Image via Grammy
“This is something we’ve been working on since December,” Mason says. “We just wanted to make sure we got the right person.” Citing her previous roles as the global head of inclusion for Google, Inc. and as the national youth vote director for the Obama for America campaign as the experience that makes her perfect for the position. Although April 2020 is rather late for a company of the Recording Academy’s stature to be hiring its first diversity & inclusion officer, Jones will become the fifth woman on the Academy’s 13-member executive staff.
Jones is honored to be apart of the effort and says that the Academy now has an opportunity to ensure diversity and inclusion to its core values. “The Recording Academy has honored their commitment and I’m proud to join them on this journey … I’m deeply inspired by the opportunity to shape a new industry standard of representation, inclusion and action,” Jones said in a statement.
Feature Image via Hello Beautiful