The Recording Academy Tuesday announced that Tina Tchen, former first lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, will chair a task force charged with examining issues of inclusion and diversity within the academy and the broader music community.
“As part of its charter, the task force will identify the various barriers and unconscious biases faced by underrepresented communities throughout the music industry and, specifically, across Recording Academy operations and policies,” according to an academy statement.
The task force will look specifically at Recording Academy governance, hiring and promotion practices, membership, awards, and telecast in an effort to determine pathways toward greater parity at every level of the organization, it said.
“The music industry faces numerous challenges*from combatting long- held biases to making sure women are represented and respected within the community,” said Tchen. “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.”
With a record of advocacy on behalf of women and girls, Tchen, 62, currently heads the Chicago office of the Buckley Sandler LLP law firm, where she is a partner and leader in advising companies on gender inequity, sexual harassment, and lack of diversity. She was recently involved in spearheading the formation of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which provides legal support to victims of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse in the workplace.
During her tenure in the White House, Tchen was the executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, established by President Barack Obama to ensure that the needs of women and girls would be addressed in the development of all government agency policies and programs.
“In this moment, the Recording Academy can do more than reflect what currently exists; we can help lead the industry into becoming the inclusive music community we want it to be — a responsibility that the Board and I take seriously, ” said Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow.
“Tina Tchen is an accomplished advocate for women and impact-oriented leader versed in convening disparate stakeholders for a common purpose. In addition, the fact that she lacks business ties to the music industry ensures her objectivity as Chair. We are honored to have her at the helm, guiding the Academy and our industry toward a greater good for everyone involved.”
The task forced is to be formed in the coming weeks, the Recording Academy said.
–City News Service