If you’re anything like me, you need all the good news you can get. So, it’s great to hear that that the Recording Academy announced today that the 2022 Grammy Awards will be produced with an inclusion rider. Yay!
Inclusion riders became big news in 2018 when, at the Academy Awards ceremony, Francis McDormand called attention to it as a way to increase diversity in Hollywood during her acceptance speech for Best Actress. The contract provision details a process for hiring and casting designed to diversify the candidate pool, encourage hiring traditionally underrepresented groups, track progress of diversity efforts, and lead to increased accountability.
One of the co-authors of the inclusion rider is Kalpana Kotagal, partner at Cohen Milstein (and Jabot podcast guest), who commented on the impact of the move:
“Incorporating the Inclusion Rider into the GRAMMY Awards will have an enormous impact on an industry that has a long history of exclusion and underrepresentation,” said Kalpana Kotagal, Inclusion Rider co-author, civil rights attorney and partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll. “Part of what makes the Inclusion Rider so potent is its adaptability and flexibility. The GRAMMY Awards Inclusion Rider will include the fundamental elements of the tool, including a commitment to deepening and diversifying hiring pools, setting benchmarks and targets for hiring, collecting and thoroughly analyzing applicant and hiring data and implementing accountability measures.”
Kotagal worked with co-author Fanshen Cox, head of strategic outreach at Pearl Street Films, as well as key contributors Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Co-President of the Recording Academy, and Ryan Butler, founding director of Warner Music | Blavatnik Center for Music Business at Howard University on the rider. The addition of the contract clause is part of the #ChangeMusic initiative and done in partnership with Color Of Change.
And folks are optimistic this will lead to larger changes:
“There are a lot of unwritten rules in the entertainment industry that create racial exclusion, and at Color Of Change, we know that to change society you have to change the rules,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change. “This Inclusion Rider is a written rule that will change the culture of hiring at the GRAMMYs, and will make inclusion the norm. We are proud to partner with the Recording Academy and hope that this joint effort inspires other entertainment industry leaders to join us in our fight for equity by adopting the Inclusion Rider.”
Hopefully this does lead to lasting change.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).