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Published on August 5th, 2021 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


The Recording Academy to Implement Inclusion Rider for 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards

The Recording Academy® announced that the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards® in 2022 will be produced with an Inclusion Rider, a contract addendum designed to be a powerful tool to ensure equity and inclusion at every level of the production. Currently in development, the Inclusion Rider is part of the larger #ChangeMusic initiative and is being created in partnership with Color Of Change, as well as co-authors Kalpana Kotagal (partner, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll), Fanshen Cox (head of strategic outreach, Pearl Street Films), and key contributors Valeisha Butterfield Jones (Co-President, Recording Academy) and Ryan Butler (founding director, Warner Music | Blavatnik Center for Music Business at Howard University). Poised to be the first major music awards show production to publicly commit to using an Inclusion Rider, the Recording Academy’s adoption for the GRAMMY Awards illustrates the adaptability and expansion of a tool that was originally developed to address systemic diversity and equity issues in film and television. The full inclusion rider will be released publicly on Sept. 16, 2021.

“We’re honored to work alongside Color Of Change and the Inclusion Rider’s esteemed co-authors as we take this monumental step to ensure equitable industry standards that support a more diverse and inclusive music community,” said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. “As the Academy continues its transformational journey, diversifying our industry is at the core of every decision we make. We’re dedicated to fostering an environment of inclusion industry-wide and hope that our efforts set an example for our peers in the music community.”

“There are a lot of unwritten rules in the entertainment industry that create racial exclusion, and at Color Of Change, we know that to change society you have to change the rules,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change. “This Inclusion Rider is a written rule that will change the culture of hiring at the GRAMMYs®, and will make inclusion the norm. We are proud to partner with the Recording Academy and hope that this joint effort inspires other entertainment industry leaders to join us in our fight for equity by adopting the Inclusion Rider.”

“Incorporating the Inclusion Rider into the GRAMMY Awards will have an enormous impact on an industry that has a long history of exclusion and underrepresentation,” said Kalpana Kotagal, Inclusion Rider co-author, civil rights attorney and partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll. “Part of what makes the Inclusion Rider so potent is its adaptability and flexibility. The GRAMMY Awards Inclusion Rider will include the fundamental elements of the tool, including a commitment to deepening and diversifying hiring pools, setting benchmarks and targets for hiring, collecting and thoroughly analyzing applicant and hiring data and implementing accountability measures.”

The Recording Academy will add the Inclusion Rider as an addendum to a contract between itself and the production company for the GRAMMY Awards. This addendum is a contractual obligation for the production company to make its best effort to recruit, audition, interview, and hire on-stage and off-stage people who have been historically and systematically excluded from the industry.

Originating in the film and television industries, the Inclusion Rider is a contract provision that sets forth a process for hiring and casting to expand and diversify the candidate pool, encourage hiring qualified cast and crew who have been traditionally underrepresented in productions, track progress, and create accountability. The most recent iteration of the Rider for Hollywood was released this spring through #ChangeHollywood, and expanded upon its original legal framework and advocates for intersectional inclusivity, which includes but is not limited to gender, race and ethnicity, as well as LGBTQIA, age and disability considerations.

A project long in the making, the Recording Academy has been working to bring Inclusion Riders to the music industry since 2019 and enlisted Color Of Change and the IR co-authors to create a Rider for the production of the GRAMMYs. This is one piece of the important work Color Of Change and the Recording Academy have been leading together through the #ChangeMusic initiative. The Recording Academy and Color Of Change are also in the process of developing a public Rider template for video productions that will be released later this year.

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Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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