Recording Academy Adds Valeisha Butterfield Jones As Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

Photo: grammy.com

The Recording Academy has added its first Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, naming Valeisha Butterfield Jones to the role, effective May 11. Butterfield Jones will report to Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO Harvey Mason Jr.

“We are thrilled to welcome Valeisha Butterfield Jones into the Recording Academy family,” said Harvey Mason Jr. “Valeisha has been a force in driving systemic change and enhancing equal opportunities for underrepresented groups across entertainment, technology and politics. I’m excited to work with her to continue evolving the Recording Academy as an organization that represents our music community and a place where all voices are welcomed, supported and nurtured. We are so fortunate to have Valeisha’s leadership in this crucial area.”

Butterfield Jones’ appointment follows recommendations set forth by the Recording Academy Diversity & Inclusion Task Force in December 2019 with a request for the Academy to hire a Diversity & Inclusion Officer at the executive level responsible for enterprise-wide diversity and inclusion efforts by May 1, 2020. The move also follows the very public departure of former Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan.

“It’s imperative that the music industry continue to make strides toward a more equitable and inclusive industry, and I am pleased to see the Recording Academy take this important step toward change within its own walls today by appointing Valeisha Butterfield Jones as its first-ever Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer,” said Tina Tchen, chair of the Recording Academy Diversity & Inclusion Task Force and president and CEO of TIME’S UP. “Creating this executive-level position was a principal recommendation of our Task Force because it is one significant way the Academy can demonstrate that issues of diversity are mission-critical and will be prioritized in the future.”

“The Recording Academy has an opportunity and responsibility to ensure that diversity and inclusion is embedded in its core values. I’m deeply honored to join the Academy as we enter a new chapter of transformational growth, leadership and change,” said Butterfield Jones. “During this unprecedented time in world history, together we will double-down on our focus to drive systemic change and equitable outcomes for underrepresented communities and creators.”

Butterfield Jones previously served as global head of inclusion for Google, Inc. Prior to her work at Google, she served as the national youth vote director for the Obama for America campaign, deputy director of public affairs for international trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Obama Administration, executive director at Rush Communications (Def Jam Enterprises, Baby Phat, Phat Farm, Hip-Hop Summit Action Network) and as the national director of diversity and inclusion for the Alzheimer’s Association. Her two decades-long career began at Home Box Office (HBO Sports). As a philanthropist, Butterfield Jones co-founded the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN) in 2007, a nonprofit, global coalition of women and men committed to the balanced, positive portrayal of women in the entertainment industry. She also serves on the National Board of Directors of ColorComm, MC Lyte’s Hip Hop Sisters Network and iVote.

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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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