Recording Academy Launches New Campaign After Gender Disparity Backlash

A diverse group of singer-songwriters is featured in the "We Are Music" video, which comes months after the organization faced criticism for its lack of diverse Grammy nominees.

After facing major backlash in the first half of this year, the Recording Academy has seemingly adopted a new tone in an effort to make things right. The organization has launched its new "We Are Music" campaign, which includes a minute-long YouTube video released on Monday. 

In a message accompanying the video, the Recording Academy states: "It’s important for us to celebrate the people who create music every day, the people who are the lifeblood of the Recording Academy. That’s why we developed the first-ever Recording Academy campaign to shine a light on the professional performers, songwriters, producers, and engineers who make up our community."

In the Danny Clinch-directed clip, Swizz Beatz, H.E.R., Chad Hugo, Ann Mincieli, Rickey Minor and more artists (none of which are white males) are seen writing and recording new music. At the end of the spot — described by the Recording Academy as a celebration of "the commitment and passion of a community of music creators" — a voiceover says, "If you believe all musicians should be paid fairly, yes."

"If you're anyone that works in music because it's in your heart, your DNA and your soul," the voiceover concludes, "Yes."

The video comes months after the Recording Academy faced criticism for its lack of diverse Grammy nominees — particularly its strikingly uneven male-to-female ratio in major categories such as record of the year and artist of the year.

In May, it was announced that Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy, will step down from his post when his contract expires next summer. Backlash over the lack of diversity among Grammy nominees amplified after Portnow responded to a question about gender disparity in the industry after the 2018 Grammy Awards by telling women to "step up."

It wasn't long before notable names in music — including business manager Lou Taylor, whose TriStar Sports and Entertainment firm represents Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and Gwen Stefani, among other female singers — responded to Portnow's remarks and the #GrammySoMale controversy.

"I step up and step in every day," Taylor wrote in January on Instagram. "There are countless women who help provide the foundation that this business is built on."

She added, "I hear the Academy needs a new accountant since you are in debt – I know a good woman who can 'step up' and help get you out of debt and help you pull your head out of your ass. #stupid"

Watch the "We Are Music" campaign video, above.