March 6, 2018


Time's Up Co-Founder Tina Tchen Leading GRAMMYs' Diversity Task Force Is a Step in the Right Direction

Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The New York Women's Foundation
Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The New York Women's Foundation

The GRAMMYs are now making necessary changes to dispel their longtime gender bias with a new diversity task force, which will be headed by a powerful leader who is not a man.

Tina Tchen has been appointed to lead the organization, and she has various avenues of credibility that makes her a valid choice. First, Tchen is a lawyer and was the chief of staff to former first lady Michelle Obama. She is also the co-founder of Time's Up, an initiative that seeks to tackle sexual harassment claims, which has taken off in Hollywood in wake of #MeToo. Being that Tchen helped spearhead such a timely movement that helps to keep women safe and equal in the workplace, she's shown that she wants to see a change in this industry. Lastly, Tchen is the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Her being a person of color in such a high-profile role proves there is room for minorities to make a difference.

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

The GRAMMYs' task force plans to "identify the various barriers and unconscious biases faced by underrepresented communities throughout the music industry and, specifically, across Recording Academy operations and policies." The iteration of this force follows the backlash of Recording Academy president Neil Portnow claiming female artists need to "step up" in order to be recognized in the awards show categories. The GRAMMYs later tried to rectify the situation by releasing an open letter, which included statistics to show that women had a larger presence at the awards show compared to the industry standards.

The Recording Academy's addition of Tina Tchen seems like a moment of self-reflection, with the organization recognizing they need to set an example in the music industry so others (record labels, management, artists, music festival curators, producers, etc.) can follow suit. Hopefully this diversity task force will create its own movement in carving out space for even more inclusion.

Below, watch Young M.A, MILCK and everyday women speak out on solidarity, empowerment and being fearless: