White House x DEI event recap
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks on stage during the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop Celebration

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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How Vice President Kamala Harris And The Recording Academy Celebrated The 50th Anniversary Of Hip-Hop: "Hip-Hop Culture Is America's Culture"

Presented by Live Nation Urban, the Recording Academy's Black Music Collective, and the U.S. Vice President's office, the once-in-a-lifetime event celebrated 50 years of hip-hop with multiple performances from Lil Wayne, Common and more hip-hop luminaries

Recording Academy/Sep 15, 2023 - 08:19 pm

"Welcome to the first-ever hip-hop house party at the home of the Vice President of the United States," U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said excitedly from a lively stage propped up in her backyard. Her words reminded folks of the Notorious B.I.G.'s eternal lyrics: "You never thought that hip-hop would take it this far."

Indeed, as guests gathered at Vice President Harris' residence in Washington, D.C., on Saturday for a private, intimate event celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, a palpable sense of wonder and awe, mixed with waves of laughter and bliss, overtook the energized crowd. Here we were, honoring hip-hop in the home of the Vice President, with rap classics blasting from the stage as the unrelenting D.C. sun kept attendees beaming and alive.

The celebration, co-presented by Live Nation Urban and the Recording Academy's Black Music Collective, recognized hip-hop's global influence, evolution and long-lasting impact and brought together music industry professionals, U.S. Senators and Governors, politicians, and celebrated rappers — all true fans of and believers in the power of hip-hop. 

Among them, Vice President Harris was perhaps the most vocal hip-hop supporter of them all. In an impassioned, heartfelt speech, she boasted of the immeasurable impact hip-hop has made on American culture. 

"Hip-hop is the ultimate American art form … Hip-hop now shapes nearly every aspect of America's popular culture," she said. "And it reflects the incredible diversity and ingenuity of the American people. 

"Hip-hop culture is America's culture," she continued. "It is a genre. It is music, melody and rhyme. And hip-hop is also an ethos of strength and self-determination, of ambition and aspiration, of pride, power, and purpose." 

Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, who confirmed with the audience that his home with Vice President Harris is, as a matter of fact, a "hip-hop household," echoed the sentiment in his opening remarks, emphasizing that the event aimed to "celebrate the legends who pioneered the music we love, the next generations who will carry on their legacy, and the artists and producers who use the power of music to create change."

For the Recording Academy, the celebration was a historic milestone in the evolution of hip-hop music and culture as a whole and the latest installment in the organization's year-long celebration of 50 years of hip-hop. In February, hip-hop took over the 2023 GRAMMYs with a special, star-studded tribute to hip-hop's 50th anniversary featuring performances from rap pioneers (Grandmaster Flash, Run-D.M.C., Chuck D, Flavor Flav), modern legends (Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, Lil Wayne), and next-gen stars (GloRilla, Lil Baby). Now, from the GRAMMYs stage to the Vice President's backyard, hip-hop is everywhere, and the genre's impact has touched virtually every aspect of global pop culture. 

"Now, fifty years later, there's not a single genre of music that hasn't absorbed something essential from hip-hop," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. said in a speech as he introduced "the first Vice President of the hip-hop generation."

"Our Vice President was rooted in hip-hop. It is essential to who she is. And — as today shows — she has brought hip-hop with her to the White House," he continued.

The multifaceted event featured a variety of performances and speeches celebrating the five core pillars of hip-hop: MCing, DJing, breakdancing, graffiti and beatboxing. As performers like legendary beatboxer Doug E. Fresh, DJ Dom and DJ D-Nice commanded the stage, Bboy Gravity and his breakdance crew wowed the audience with their neck-breaking moves; throughout the event, a graffiti artist completed a live graffiti mural wall painting from beginning to end.

"This event perfectly embodied everything that we at the Black Music Collective are about, and it's been the honor of a lifetime to work alongside other industry leaders and Vice President Kamala Harris to curate this historic celebration," Ryan Butler, the Recording Academy's Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, said in a statement. "We chose to focus on five key pillars of hip-hop — MC, DJ, breakdance, graffiti and beatbox — which allowed us to celebrate all of the distinct elements of such a culturally significant movement."

A powerful lineup of artists further framed the five elements of hip-hop. Remy Ma, MC Lyte and Roxanne Shanté showcased some of the many ways women have influenced hip-hop culture, while Bay Area rapper Too $hort represented the West Coast with his performance of his classic hits "Life is Too $hort" and "Blow the Whistle." Common's freestyle-fueled performance exemplified the higher-learning, conscious-expression aspect of hip-hop, while fellow Chicago rapper Saba held it down for the fresh faces of hip-hop. The event also featured performances by legendary rappers Fat Joe, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, D.C.'s own Wale, Jeezy, who performed his fitting hit "My President," and Lil Wayne, who delivered a show-stopping, career-spanning closing set.

As the event ended, an ominous thunderstorm loomed up in the clouds, but that didn't stop attendees from basking in the afterglow, snapping their final selfies and videos of what was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Too $hort best summed up that sense of unbelievable astonishment.

"The journey of hip-hop was not projected to be this," Too $hort said during an on-site interview. "It's a beautiful thing that the image of the culture has changed enough to be used as a tool … Every aspect of life is influenced by hip-hop. Nobody expected that … But at the same time, we were relentless enough to keep doing our craft, and now we're here — we're here! I can't believe I'm here."

*— With additional reporting from John Ochoa*

Congress Moves to Honor The 50th Anniversary Of Hip-Hop

A graphic announcing the Recording Academy's global expansion into Africa and the Middle East. The words "Globalizing Our Mission" are written in blue and white letters on a black background featuring the Recording Academy logo and a GRAMMY Award statue.
The Recording Academy is taking its mission to support music creators to a global scale.

Graphic Courtesy of the Recording Academy

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The Recording Academy Announces Global Expansion Strategy In Africa And The Middle East

Working with entities in Africa and the Middle East, the Recording Academy is expanding internationally to support music creators on a global scale through enhanced educational resources, cross-cultural learnings, intellectual property advocacy, and more.

Recording Academy/Jun 11, 2024 - 02:01 pm

The Recording Academy, the organization behind the annual GRAMMY Awards, has announced agreements with Ministries of Cultures and key stakeholders across the Middle East and Africa to extend its efforts to support music creators on a global scale. The Recording Academy is working with the Ministries of Culture in Kenya, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Nigeria, the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), and the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture in South Africa. Additionally, MOUs have been signed with Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

Through the newly announced agreements, the Recording Academy will collaborate with its partners on a framework to bolster the Academy's presence and services in these rapidly growing music regions while taking its mission international. Through these collaborations, and in alignment with our mission, the Academy will explore several key initiatives, including: 

  • Championing music creators at all levels, providing them with a platform and advocacy. 

  • Empowering creators through enhanced training. Through its online learning platform, GRAMMY GO, the Recording Academy will look to provide educational programs and resources specifically tailored to the needs of music creators in these regions.

  • Producing original content that celebrates the rich musical heritage and dynamic emerging scenes of Africa and the Middle East.

  • Enhancing support for existing members. Cross-cultural learnings will benefit all music creators, and a presence in these rapidly growing music regions would provide numerous benefits to the Recording Academy's current and future members

  • Advocating for strong intellectual property (IP) legislation and protections for music creators.

  • Fueling the music economy by collaborating with partners to develop and strengthen the creative economy in Africa and the Middle East.

  • As a cornerstone of this initiative, the Recording Academy will publish a series of reports, highlighting the Academy's research and insights into these music markets.

For the past two years, Recording Academy leaders, including Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. and Recording Academy President Panos A. Panay, have traveled throughout these regions, participated in listening sessions, received high-level briefings, tours, and demonstrations, and obtained insight directly from both the governmental ministries and local music creators driving innovation in these markets.

"This is exciting because music is one of humanity's greatest natural resources," Mason jr. said in a statement about the Recording Academy's global expansion. "It is critical that the people who dedicate themselves to creating music have support, resources and opportunities, no matter where they are from."

"The Recording Academy is dedicated to supporting music creators around the world," Panay added in a statement. "Our expansion efforts into these fast-growing regions reflect our commitment to fostering a truly global music community, where creators at every stage of their careers and from every corner of the world have the resources and support they need to thrive."

As the first phase of plans to support music creators abroad, this expansion into the Middle East and Africa comes the same year the Academy celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Latin GRAMMY Awards, taking place this November in Miami, and months after the Latin Recording Academy hosted the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs in Seville, Spain, marking the first-ever international GRAMMY Awards show. This year at the 2024 GRAMMYs, the Recording Academy also introduced the inaugural Best African Music Performance GRAMMY category, which recognizes recordings that utilize unique local expressions from across the African continent. Also, the Recording Academy last year partnered with the U.S. State Department on an initiative to promote peace through music.

Read additional quotes about our global expansion from Recording Academy members and our partners below:

Kenya:

Hon. Ababu Namwamba, EGH: "Creative Economy is among the key cogs in the wheel driving the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) in Kenya. The country has placed a premium on music, film, theatre, content creation, fashion, pageantry, and other creative industries as a pivot for job creation, revenue generation and economic growth for sustainable livelihoods. With a predominantly youthful population that is well educated, innovative and passionate in stretching the frontiers of imagination, Kenya considers the creative sector as a fitting ignition for lighting and unleashing the full potential of this enormous youth bulge. Furthermore, creatives offer a formidable platform for building cultural, social, economic, and political ties across the East African Community, the African Continent and indeed the entire African Diaspora globally. And so, it should be no surprise that Kenya is delighted to be among the four champions of this effort, alongside our sister nations of Rwanda, Nigeria and South Africa. This is a historic opportunity to hoist high and celebrate Africanacity through artistic and cultural expression, while fostering innovation, creativity, fraternity, and solidarity for African peoples in Africa and beyond. Kenya is in KABISA! (absolutely). Welcome to magical Kenya, the land of Hakuna Matata!"  

United Arab Emirates:

H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi: "Abu Dhabi's music scene is soaring, driven by the vibrancy of our youthful population, and strengthened by governmental commitment to infrastructure development, exemplified by existing and upcoming venues across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Additionally, investments in educational institutions such as Berklee Abu Dhabi and Bait al Oud Abu Dhabi, underscore our dedication to fostering local talent by providing them with comprehensive music theory education. As we embrace diverse genres emerging from our rich cultural heritage, we see a dynamic wave of creators and talents shaping our musical landscape. Today, we stand ready to collaborate with the Recording Academy to amplify our artists' voices, celebrate our music, and propel MENA's music industry to new heights."

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:

Paul Pacifico, CEO, The Music Commission: "We are excited to become a part of the global GRAMMYs family, working to unite a growing range of music and talent from around the world as we strive to develop an inclusive and sustainable industry which fosters a rich tapestry of music and talent from diverse corners of the globe. We eagerly anticipate the benefits we know this partnership will bring to our music community in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the opportunities it will deliver for Saudi music to take its place on the global stage and contribute to a more globally representative and vibrant music industry."

Rwanda:

Francis Gatare, CEO, Rwanda Development Board: "Rwanda embraces this vision of connecting the continent's creative minds, marking a pivotal moment in our history where our culture and spirit are celebrated and shared with the world. By fostering a unified creative platform, we not only celebrate our creativity but also forge a shared path toward economic and social prosperity. Rwanda is proud to champion this significant milestone. By promoting our diverse talents, we enrich the global creative community and affirm our place as leaders in cultural expression. This initiative underscores Rwanda's dedication to a vibrant and dynamic cultural landscape, positioning us at the heart of Africa's creative renaissance."

South Africa:

Tshepo Mahloele, Chairman of Arena Holdings: "It is an exciting era for African and particularly South African music to finally work with the Recording Academy in ways that will provide the opportunity for African music to be recognized and celebrated on the global stage. We are proud to have advanced this exciting partnership."

Afrexim Bank:

President Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah, Afrexim Bank: "With Afreximbank's support for Africa's creative industries and endorsement of the Recording Academy's expansion, we recognize the immense potential this sector has to boost GDP and create employment for the youth. We extend our heartfelt congratulations and gratitude to the Academy's founding nations and the leadership of the Recording Academy for this remarkable opportunity to blend 65 years of invaluable experience with our continent's vibrant music and creative ecosystem." 

Recording Academy Members:

John Legend: "I'm excited to see the Recording Academy taking these meaningful steps to globalize our mission and reach. Music knows no borders. It's global and transcends cultural, political and language barriers. I'm so glad that the Recording Academy, the leading organization serving music creators, is evolving to be a more global organization."

Angelique Kidjo: "The Recording Academy is accelerating its efforts to serve music people everywhere, and Africa is ready with open arms. We are a continent of music and young, passionate music makers. I'm proud to see the Academy forming partnerships with Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, and no doubt, more to come!"

Kat Graham: "As a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency, I've seen firsthand how interconnected our world is. I applaud the Recording Academy for expanding its activities to Africa and the Middle East, two of the fastest-growing regions. This visionary move will amplify the role music can play as a force for good in the world while showcasing diverse voices and fostering cultural unity on a global scale."

Davido: "As an African musician, I'm excited about the Recording Academy's expansion into Africa and the Middle East. It acknowledges our vibrant talent and the global influence of African music. This initiative offers a platform for creators, elevating our cultural expressions and uniting us through music."

Stay Connected To The Recording Academy With The My Academy Hub App: Access Key Deadlines, View Membership Information, Browse Official Academy Events & More

Recording Academy Board of Trustees graphic
The Recording Academy welcomes its 2024-2025 Board Of Trustees

Graphic Courtesy of the Recording Academy

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The Recording Academy Elects 19 Leaders To Its 2024-2025 Board Of Trustees

The Recording Academy has elected 19 new leaders of diverse backgrounds and disciplines to add to its 2024-2025 National Board of Trustees.

Recording Academy/Jun 3, 2024 - 01:05 pm

Following this year’s annual Recording Academy Board of Trustees meeting, 19 leaders of diverse backgrounds and disciplines have assumed their position on the 2024-2025 Board of Trustees. Effective June 1, the newly elected Trustees joined the Academy’s midterm Trustees, including National Officers Tammy Hurt (Chair), Dr. Chelsey Green (Vice Chair), Gebre Waddell (Secretary/Treasurer), and Christine Albert (Chair Emeritus) to uphold the Academy's mission to serve and represent the music community at-large through its commitment to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, fight for creators' rights, protect music people in need, preserve music's history, and invest in its future.

Recording Academy members play a key role in shaping the next generation of the organization's leaders on a local and national level. Each year, the Academy's 12 Chapters' Voting and Professional Members vote in their respective Chapter Board Elections to elect their Chapter's Governors. Of the Trustees that serve on the National Board, eight are elected by Voting and Professional Members of the Academy (four each year) and 30 are elected by the Chapter Boards (15 each year). The remaining four seats are composed of the National Trustee Officers serving the roles of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary/Treasurer, and Chair Emeritus, who are elected by the Board of Trustees once every two years. All positions on the Board of Trustees are subject to two two-year term limits.

The full list of the Academy's Board of Trustees is below: 

2024-2025 RECORDING ACADEMY BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Cheche Alara^ Jennifer Blakeman^ EJ Gaines^ Taylor Hanson^ Ledisi Ken Shepherd^
Christine Albert Evan Bogart Kennard Garrett Justin “Henny” Henderson^ Eric Lilavois Jessica Thompson^
Marcella Araica Torae Carr^ Sara Gazarek^ Tammy Hurt Susan Marshall Gebre Waddell
Nikisha Bailey^ Dani Deahl^ Tracy Gershon J. Ivy Riggs Morales Paul Wall
Julio Bagué Maria Egan^ Dr. Chelsey Green Terry Jones^ Donn Thompson Morelli “Donn T” Wayna
Larry Batiste Fletcher Foster^ Dave Gross^ Angelique Kidjo Ms. Meka Nism^ Tamara Wellons^
Marcus Baylor Anna Frick Jennifer Hanson Mike Knobloch^ Ashley Shabankareh^ Jonathan Yip

^Elected or re-elected this year

Bold identifies National Officers

"I'm honored to welcome this amazing group of creatives to our Board of Trustees," said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. "Our Board’s expertise and dedication to helping music people everywhere has been essential to all we have achieved at the Academy. However, the work never stops, and I look forward to working alongside our new and current Trustees on ways we can continue to provide guidance for our music community." 

“Welcoming our newly elected Trustees is always such an exciting time at the Academy,” said Hurt. “With new ideas to contribute to our Board and the eagerness to helping change music, I have no doubt that together this year’s Board of Trustees will continue our commitment to fostering a diverse and representative music industry.” 

Recording Academy members play a key role in shaping the next generation of the organization's leaders on a local and national level. Each year, the Academy's 12 Chapters' Voting and Professional Members vote in their respective Chapter Board Elections to elect their Chapter's Governors. Of the Trustees that serve on the National Board, eight are elected by Voting and Professional Members of the Academy (four each year) and 30 are elected by the Chapter Boards (15 each year). The remaining four seats are comprised of the National Trustee Officers serving the roles of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary/Treasurer, and Chair Emeritus, who are currently midterm, and are elected by the Board of Trustees once every two years. All positions on the Board of Trustees are subject to two, two-year term limits. 

View the full list of the Academy's Board of Trustees, Chapter Officers and Academy bylaws.

2025 GRAMMYs To Take Place Sunday, Feb. 2, Live In Los Angeles; GRAMMY Awards Nominations To Be Announced Friday, Nov. 8, 2024

Celebrate Women's History Month 2024 with the Recording Academy

Graphic courtesy of the Recording Academy

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The Recording Academy Celebrates Women's History Month And International Women's Day With 2024 "Power In Women" Series

The "Power In Women" series honors the incredible contributions women have made to music and celebrates the women making waves in the industry. Hear from Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr., Autumn Rowe, Ebonie Smith, and more leading women in music.

Recording Academy/Mar 8, 2024 - 10:55 pm

As the world's leading community of music professionals, the Recording Academy understands the importance of diverse experiences. All year long, we work to address and improve the challenges that marginalized communities and creators face every day in the music industry, especially by women and other marginalized gender identities. In honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day this year, we're recognizing and celebrating the contributions of every woman in music via our 2024 "Power In Women" series. 

The "Power In Women" series is a social and digital media campaign aimed at honoring the incredible contributions women have made to music and celebrating the women making waves across the industry. We've partnered with a diverse range of Recording Academy members and music industry creators and professionals to highlight the power and influence of women across every facet of the music industry. Via exclusive social media interviews that are personal yet universal and impactful stories about the women who are shaping the future of the music industry, the "Power In Women" series is giving women the stage they deserve. 

"On International Women's Day, I find myself thinking about the evolution of the Recording Academy and our steadfast commitment to inclusivity, equity, and empowering women in music," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. said in a special video message to the music community published on International Women's Day 2024. "At last month's GRAMMY Awards, female stars completely shined." 

Below, hear from Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr., Autumn Rowe, Ebonie Smith, Emily Bear, and some of the brightest women in music in our 2024 "Power In Women" series, and learn more about the Recording Academy's recent achievements and actions to further amplify women empowerment and representation in our industry. Make sure to check out GRAMMY.com for more content celebrating some incredible women in music all throughout Women's History Month and beyond.

Women in music have indeed had a phenomenal year, with the 2024 GRAMMYs serving as a landmark year for the Academy recognizing and awarding women in music. Women dominated in the majority of the General Field Categories and broke records at the 2024 GRAMMYs: For the second time in four years, women won Album Of The Year (Taylor Swift), Song Of The Year (Billie Eilish), Record Of The Year (Miley Cyrus), and Best New Artist (Victoria Monét).

As the most winning artist of the night, Phoebe Bridgers took home four GRAMMYs in total: three with her all-woman band boygenius and one for her collaboration with fellow woman artist SZA

Taylor Swift broke the all-time record for most Album Of The Year GRAMMY wins when she secured her fourth GRAMMY in the Category for Midnights. She still holds the position as the only woman to ever win the Album Of The Year Category more than twice. 

Kacey Musgraves also made history by becoming the first artist ever to win in all four Country Categories. Paramore became the first rock band fronted by a woman to win Best Rock Album, and Karol G became the first Latina to win Best Musicá Urbana Album. The 2024 GRAMMYs also marked the third consecutive that a woman won the Producer Of The Year, Classical Category, with Elaine Martone taking home the golden gramophone last month.

Prior to the 2024 GRAMMYs, the Recording Academy honored and amplified the voices of women in music at the A Celebration of Women In The Mix event, present in partnership with PEOPLE and Sephora and held at GRAMMY House during GRAMMY Week 2024; Dyson and The Hartford were participating sponsors of the event

In addition to these history-making achievements, the Recording Academy has also welcomed more women into our leadership and membership ranks than ever before. Under the guidance of Ruby Marchand, Chief Awards & Industry Officer, and Kelley Purcell, Vice President of Membership & Industry Relations, the Recording Academy is now 98% of the way to reaching our goal of adding 2,500 women Voting Members by 2025; we are set to achieve this milestone in 2024 — a year ahead of schedule.

Last year, the 2023 New Member Class had a record-breaking, diverse group of 2,400+ music creators join the Recording Academy, with women making up 37% of this group. (See the full statistics surrounding the demographics of the 2023 New Member Class.) 

Later this month, the Recording Academy will host additional events and programs in celebration of Women's History Month. Presented by our Membership & Industry Relations and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) teams, the Recording Academy is hosting a Women In The Mix Brunch at SXSW 2024. Also, the Recording Academy Washington D.C. Chapter will host "Blueprints in Leadership with Ruby Marchand," an intimate conversation with Academy executive Marchand, alongside Washington D.C. Chapter Trustee WAYNA, about her the guiding principles that have driven her dynamic professional career and Recording Academy journey. Both events are private events not open to the public.

As a leading organization championing equity, inclusion, and empowerment of women in the music business, the Recording Academy has made commendable progress in women's representation among our Voting and Professional Membership ranks as well as our GRAMMY winners and nominees. Beyond our rigorous efforts to recruit and retain women members, the Academy is also committed to amplifying women in music through providing curated events, mentorship, networking opportunities, recognition, and more. 

But our work is not done, and our mission remains ongoing. And we can't do it alone — it takes every one of us. Download our "Power In Women" social media toolkit to support and amplify women in music on your social and digital media channels. Stand with us in empowering women in music and help us create a more inclusive and fair music industry. 

Learn more about the Recording Academy's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, recent DEI achievements, and year-round work to support women and other marginalized voices in music.