Photo: Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for the Recording Academy
5 Things We Learned From The GRAMMY Museum's "Hip Hop & Mental Health: Facing The Stigma Together" Panel
The GRAMMY Museum, the Recording Academy's Black Music Collective and MusiCares partnered with the Universal Hip Hop Museum to exchange real talk during Black Music Month.
In a climate where political and personal attacks are raining down on all fronts, three of music's biggest superpowers have convened for a discussion geared towards healing.
On Sat., June 25, the GRAMMY Museum, the Recording Academy's Black Music Collective, and MusiCares partnered up with the Universal Hip Hop Museum to host "Hip Hop & Mental Health: Facing the Stigma Together," a Black Music Month panel moderated by Nick Cannon.
A wellness-centered occasion, the open-and-thoughtful conversation featured insights from XYION's Adrian Miller, Family Tree Services' Michael "Blue" Williams and Eric Brooks about the state of mental wellness and healthcare in hip hop, the music industry, and beyond.
When it comes to unpacking unresolved traumas and devising a competent plan of action, there is no more important time than now. Together, we can implement systemic and structural changes to the personal and professional lives of our favorite artists.
With that in mind, here are five things that GRAMMY.com learned from the panel.
A Mental-Health Department Is Needed
To kick off the occasion, Nick Cannon, Adrian Miller, Michael "Blue" Williams, and Eric Brooks called for the music and entertainment industry to institute a mental-health department.
From their perspectives, this would help artists, executives, managers, and staff deal with personal and interpersonal issues.
"Managers are now supplementary family members [to these artists] as we're being there for them in a way that we've never had to do before," said Williams, who served as de facto manager for Outkast, Nas, Macy Gray, and others.
As he continued, record labels put so much money into maintaining the trauma of our favorite stars — but now, they need to invest in their well-being.
Hip-Hop Is An Undervalued American Export
Adrian Miller, the former VP of A&R at Warner Brothers Music Group and an industry leader in artist curation, was asked by host Nick Cannon to talk about how the recording industry profits from trauma.
"The culture is the major cultural export that the world enjoys," Miller said without hesitation. "But [only] the labels know the number of its value — and it is refusing to share."
Overall, the discussion highlighted that hip-hop has consistently been a challenge to those who want to use its voice, its lyrics, and its artists in a negative way.
According to Eric Brooks, the shift of hip-hop culture into mainstream dominance is "unavoidable." This means that more than ever before, compensation needs to be properly given to the creators.
"Hip Hop & Mental Health: Facing The Stigma Together" at The GRAMMY Museum on June 25, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for the Recording Academy
Social Media Leads To Mismanagement Of Artists' Expectations
Most artists have a second job in projecting their professional and public lives on Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and the like.
And in catering to millions of people with a curated lifestyle full of like-worthy excellence, the panel delved into the extreme highs and lows that music people face — thanks to the pressures caused by social media.
"These artists can easily perform in front of millions of music lovers — but when they get off stage, one tweet can have the power to crush them," said Michael "Blue" Williams. "No one can teach us that [as managers], but we need to [have the resources] to be prepared.
Despite the hype that comes with the push of a button, there needs to be a new way — through revamped media training or other methods — to ensure that artists' mental health comes first.
We Need To Talk About Burnout — And The Effects Of Trauma
The effects of this thing we call life can affect us greatly when we're alone.
During the "Hip Hop & Mental Health" panel, there was a frank industry-forward conversation about the elephant in the room — burnout — and how to detect it in industry professionals and artists.
"Artists are in a fight-or-flight mode when it comes to being in this game," said Eric Brooks.. "And there need to be strategies on how to deal with the inner battles that only happen in the mind and body."
Michael "Blue" Williams — who is no stranger to dealing with high-profile clientele — mentions that what happened to Kanye West and the late Chris Lighty should be an example of what breakdown and the effects of trauma look like.
Dr. Monique "Dr. Flo" Hedmann speaks at "Hip Hop & Mental Health: Facing The Stigma Together" at The GRAMMY Museum on June 25, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for the Recording Academy
VIP Attendees Were A Big Part Of The Discussion
When the floor opened up to questions, there was no shortage of hands being raised — showing how crucial the attendees were to this conversation.
Also in attendance were some high-profile mental-health professionals, like JC Hall, LCSW (Hip Hop Therapy), Dr. Monique "Dr. Flo" Hedmann (Hip Hop Public Health), and Nakeya T. Fields, LCSW (Black Mental Health Task Force).
These parties shared extra insights on how to address the concerns that were brought up during the two-hour-plus chat, and provided a variety of helpful mental health and addiction resources.
All in all, they illuminated how suffering music people can get help — today, and for many years to come.
GRAMMY trophies at the 59th GRAMMY Awards in 2017
Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
The Recording Academy Announces Official GRAMMY Week 2021 Events
The virtual events during GRAMMY Week 2021 aim to celebrate this year's nominees and the music that unites us
The Recording Academy has announced the events lineup for GRAMMY Week 2021 ahead of the 63rd GRAMMY Awards broadcasting Sunday, March 14, on CBS at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. All events will be virtual this year to ensure the safety of our staff and guests and to make the events as accessible as possible to attendees.
See the full GRAMMY Week 2021 lineup of confirmed events and additional details here and below:
GRAMMY In The Schools Fest
This four-day virtual event, presented by MusicPower, will celebrate music and music education featuring performances by students and professionals along with engaging, educational panels by artists, educators and other music professionals and will conclude on March 11, 2021.
Free to the public for those who register in advance by clicking on this link.
Women In The Mix
This event will recognize the contributions of women in music and amplify female voices across the industry. Highlighting producers, engineers, artists and executives, this program champions women who set the tone for their own communities and work to close gender gaps on and off the stage.
The virtual event will take place publicly on GRAMMY.com.
The Inaugural Black Music Collective GRAMMY Week Celebration
The historic event, presented by Mastercard, will feature an array of esteemed Black music creators and professionals known for amplifying Black voices in music and beyond.
The virtual event can be viewed on GRAMMY.com.
GRAMMY U Masterclass With Tayla Parx
Join us for a masterclass with GRAMMY nominee, Tayla Parx, as she discusses the craft of songwriting and being a multi-faceted artist. A singer, songwriter, actress, and entrepreneur, Tayla has penned tracks for Ariana Grande, Janelle Monáe and Anderson.Paak, in addition to her successful solo career as an artist. This program is in collaboration with the Recording Academy's Black Music Collective and Powered by Mastercard.
The virtual event can be viewed on the Recording Academy's Facebook channel.
Producers & Engineers Wing 20th Anniversary Celebration
This hour-long program will celebrate the 20-year milestone of the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing with highlights from the past two decades and a look into the future.
This is a private event.
23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative
The event will honor the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) — a nationally recognized leader in legal education and professional development within the United States for lawyers and professionals in the entertainment, sports and related industries — with the 2021 Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award.
This is a private event.
MusiCares Music On A Mission
This virtual fundraiser will honor the resilience of the music community, which has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will celebrate top moments in MusiCares' history, including legendary performances from the MusiCares' vaults and new performances from today's biggest stars.
Tickets are available to the public for $25 and are on sale now on MusiCares.org.
63rd GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony
Get ready for Music's Biggest Night by starting with Music's Biggest Day. The Premiere Ceremony will present more than 70 GRAMMY winners and feature a variety of exciting performances across genres.
Watch the live stream exclusively on GRAMMY.com.
63rd GRAMMY Awards
The 63rd GRAMMY Awards will broadcast live on the CBS Television Network, Sunday, March 14, at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.
Watch Rico Love & Akeal Evans Discuss "Your Future Is Now" Scholarship On Instagram Live
In a compelling Instagram Live conversation, Rico Love — the Vice Chair of the Recording Academy's Board of Trustees — chats with 2021 "Your Future Is Now" recipient Akeal Evans about this beneficial, BMC-backed scholarship.
Back in February 2021, the Recording Academy's Black Music Collective (BMC) teamed up with Amazon Music to launch an instructive and impactful scholarship program.
Now, they're gearing up again in 2022. So let this in-depth Instagram Live conversation serve as a reminder that today (Friday, June 10) is the final deadline to apply for the "Your Future Is Now" scholarship program.
If you haven't heard of it before, "Your Future Is Now" aims to provide mentorship opportunities and donations to HBCU (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) students and music programs.
The scholarship program offers select students currently enrolled at a HBCU networking opportunities with esteemed members of the music industry, including an immersive rotation program with Amazon Music and Recording Academy department leads, providing each student a detailed look at their particular field of work within the music industry.
In the above video, Rico Love, the Vice Chair of the Recording Academy's Board of Trustees, and 2021 "Your Future Is Now" recipient Akeal Evans discuss the merits of this beneficial, BMC-backed initiative.
All applicants must submit a current and complete grades transcript, a personal statement, a creative video showing their creativity, and one online recommendation.
Don't delay — if the conversation above interests you, visit the "Your Future Is Now" scholarship program page to apply for this soul-strengthening scholarship.
Ledisi (L) & MC Lyte (R)
Ledisi PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF Artist / MC LYTE PHOTO CREDIT: D'ANDRE MICHAEL
Black Music Collective Podcast: Watch Ledisi Discuss Her Journey In Music As An Independent Artist
In the latest episode of the "Black Music Collective Podcast," GRAMMY-winning artist Ledisi talks through her journey in music on a road that hasn't always been easy and how she's remained true to who she is as an artist
In the latest episode of the "Recording Academy x EBONY: Black Music Collective Podcast," a new podcast series presented by Procter & Gamble, host and two-time GRAMMY nominee MC Lyte chats with powerhouse vocalist Ledisi, one of the greatest singers of her generation.
Throughout her distinguished career, Ledisi has garnered an impressive list of accolades, including three Soul Train Music Awards, a NAACP Theater Award and six NAACP Image Award nominations. Most recently, Ledisi received two LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award nominations, including Best Featured Actress in a Musical. This year, she received her first GRAMMY Award, for Best Traditional R&B Performance for her hit song, "Anything for You," at the 63rd GRAMMY Awards this past March. (She counts 13 career GRAMMY nominations overall.)
Born in New Orleans and reared in Oakland, California, Ledisi has wowed fans with her unparalleled vocals ever since she burst onto the scene. She is a beloved favorite among fellow musical and cultural icons, including the Obama family, the late Prince, Patti LaBelle, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, and so many others.
An influential figure within the Recording Academy family, Ledisi was elected President of the Recording Academy's Los Angeles Chapter this year.
Listen to Ledisi talk through her journey in music on a road that hasn't always been easy and learn how she has remained true to who she is as an artist in the newest episode of the "Recording Academy x EBONY: Black Music Collective Podcast" above.
About The Recording Academy x EBONY: Black Music Collective Podcast:
The "Recording Academy x EBONY: Black Music Collective Podcast" is a six-part podcast series presented by Procter & Gamble. Hosted by MC Lyte, the series includes various members of the Recording Academy's Black Music Collective (BMC), a group of prominent Black music creators and professionals who share the common goal of amplifying Black voices within the Academy and beyond, who discuss their contributions and impact within the community and the music industry at large.
The "Recording Academy x EBONY: Black Music Collective Podcast" streams every Thursday at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT through July 29 on EBONY.com and EBONY's YouTube channel and Facebook page, as well as on GRAMMY.com/BlackMusicCollectivePodcast and the Recording Academy's official Facebook page and YouTube channel.
WATCH: Atlantic Records' Senior Engineer Ebonie Smith Walks Through The Recording Process, Shares Studio Advice In GRAMMY U Masterclass
With the help of Memphis duo the PRVLG, made up of Christopher and Christian Underwood, a former GRAMMY U member, Ebonie Smith gives a behind-the-scenes look at the recording process
In her GRAMMY U Masterclass, sponsored by Mastercard, Ebonie Smith walked through some of the engineering dos and don’ts when recording in the studio. The senior producer and engineer at Atlantic Records in New York went through her considerations when recording, including choosing certain types of cymbals for drums and preparing a room for recording. She also spoke about mic selections and placements for capturing quality sound.
With the help of Memphis duo the PRVLG, made up of Christopher and Christian Underwood, a former GRAMMY U member, Smith gives a behind-the-scenes look at the recording process.
Watch the video above to learn studio recording tips and advice directly from Ebonie Smith.