The Recording Academy’s aggressive efforts to boost the number of women and people of people of color at all levels of the organization, including at the very top, have borne fruit.
People of color account for fully 60% of the newly-elected board of trustees, while women account for 45%. People of color represented a majority of the board (53%) for the first time two years ago, as Billboard reported. Women then accounted for 44% of the board.
For the first time in Academy history, women are serving in the top two posts on the board concurrently. Tammy Hurt has been re-elected to serve as chair; Dr. Chelsey Green was elected vice chair.
Hurt is the third woman to serve as chair, but the first two women in that role, Leslie Ann Jones and Christine Albert, both served alongside male vice chairs. Tony Cisconti was vice chair under Jones from 1999-2001. John Poppo served as vice chair under Albert (2013-15). (Poppo subsequently served as chair from 2015-19.) Rico Love was vice chair under Hurt in her first term (2021-23).
Hurt, from the Academy’s Atlanta chapter, is “an openly out LGBTQ+ officer, a landmark for the Academy,” as the Academy’s press release puts it.
Gebre Waddell was elected secretary/treasurer, succeeding Om’Mas Keith. Albert, from the Academy’s Texas chapter, has been re-elected to serve as chair emeritus. It’s her fourth term in that role.
“I’m pleased to introduce and welcome the new national officers and trustees to our Academy family,” Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement. “This great, new group reflects our eclectic music community and will carry forward our mission of serving all music people. I look forward to working alongside this esteemed group to continue the evolution of our Academy.”
In partnership with Mason, the national officers lead the trustees and Academy senior staff to shape the mission and policies of the Academy and its affiliates. The Academy defines its mission as 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.”
Eleven members of the 2023 –24 board of trustees are Grammy winners. J. Ivy won his first Grammy in March in the new category of best spoken word poetry album for The Poet Who Sat by the Door. Falu Shah won her first Grammy in 2022 for best children’s music album for A Colorful World.
John Legend is the current trustee with the most Grammy wins (12), followed by Angelique Kidjo (five); Yolanda Adams, Chuck Ainlay, PJ Morton and Michael Romanowski (four each); Jonathan Yip and Natalia Ramirez (two each); and Ledisi, J. Ivy and Falu Shah (one each).
Here’s more background on the four national officers:
Tammy Hurt is a drummer, music producer and television producer. She is the second person from Atlanta to hold the position. Her latest musical project, Sonic Rebel, incorporates original, genre-blurred, Dolby Atmos music beds and mashup remixes. Her boutique entertainment firm Placement Music, founded in 2010, has worked with such clients as FOX Sports, Paramount Pictures, CBS, MTV, HBO, BET, Sony, the NFL and NASCAR. Hurt was active in the campaign that led to the passage of the Georgia Music Investment Act, the state’s first standalone music tax incentive.
Dr. Chelsey Green is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, entrepreneur, and educator. Dr. Green and her ensemble, Chelsey Green and The Green Project, have released five studio projects, one of which (The Green Room) debuted and peaked at No. 22 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums chart in October 2014. Green performs concerts, music festivals and educational workshops around the world. Committed to music education, advocacy and youth arts access, Dr. Green is an associate professor at Berklee College of Music and also serves as a member of the Program Council of NewMusicUSA.
Gebre Waddell is a tech entrepreneur, mastering engineer, and published author. As CEO and co-founder of Sound Credit, he played a key role in the creation and growth of the platform, driving innovation in the field of music fintech and credits. With more than 20 years of experience as a professional mastering engineer, he has made contributions to works of prominent artists such as Ministry, Public Enemy, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross. In 2013, his book Complete Audio Mastering was published by McGraw-Hill Professional,
Christine Albert is an independent recording artist and founder/CEO of Swan Songs, an Austin, Tex.-based nonprofit that fulfills musical last wishes. She has released 12 independent albums as a solo artist and as part of the folk/Americana duo Albert and Gage, and has appeared on Austin City Limits.
Here’s the full list of the Academy’s 2023-24 board of trustees:
Newly elected or re-elected:
Dr. Chelsey Green
Donn Thompson Morelli “Donn T”
Trustees who are currently midterm:
Alex E. Chávez
Thom “TK” Kidd