Former Obama Chief of Staff Leads 16-Member Task Force to Include More Women in Music

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The Recording Academy kicked off Women’s History Month in March with its announcement of Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to former first lady Michelle Obama, as its chair of the taskforce to examine issues of inclusion and diversity within the organization and the music industry at-large.

“I’m honored to lead such an esteemed group of visionaries who possess the experience and passion needed to drive real change in building a more inclusive and equitable music community,” said Tchen.

“This is an important first step made possible by the Recording Academy’s leadership, which recognizes the benefit of examining these issues with fresh eyes.”

In the wake of criticism after calling women to “step up” for a larger role in the music industry, Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow announced his efforts to combat this year’s Grammy Awards lack of female representation.

This week, the 16-member task force, comprised of 13 women and 3 men, was announced. The task force is missioned to examine barriers, challenges, and prejudices affecting women and other underrepresented voices in the music industry and at the Recording Academy itself.

The board includes a variety of music creators, academic scholars, and thought leaders in gender equality including Universal Music Group executive vice president Michele Anthony, BET CEO Debra Lee, lyricist Common, Sony Music executive vice president of business affairs Julie Swidler, and Lionfish Entertainment CEO Rebeca Leon, among others.

“The music industry faces numerous challenges — from combatting long-held biases to making sure women are represented and respected within the community,” Tchen said in a statement.

“This task force is an important initial step by the Recording Academy to demonstrate its commitment to tackling these challenges in a comprehensive way. I am honored to partner with them in this effort and look forward to working with members of the task force as we look to make the music industry a diverse and inclusive community for all.”

Rachel Hampton

Communications and Special Projects Associate

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