LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — The Recording Academy has appointed Valeisha Butterfield Jones as the organization’s first Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer.
In her new role, Butterfield Jones will join the Academy’s executive leadership team with a portfolio that includes advancing the organization’s mission and ensuring that standards of diversity and inclusion are maintained.
She will report to Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO Harvey Mason jr., taking up her new duties effective May 11, 2020.
“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.”
Prior to joining the Recording Academy, Butterfield Jones served as the global head of inclusion for Google, Inc. and the national youth vote director for the Obama for America campaign.
She also served as 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.
On the non-profit side, she co-founded the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN) in 2007, a coalition dedicated to creating balanced potrayals 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.
Butterfield Jones’appointment follows several years of turmoil at the Recording Academy that were highlighted by the departure of longtime chairman and CEO Neil Portnow, who exited in 2019 after sparking controversy by suggesting that female artists need to “step up” if they want to be recognized Grammy Award nominations.
As well, his replacement Deborah Dugan, who came aboard in August 2019 with a mandate to increase diversity at the organization, was abruptly placed on administrative leave in January after she was accused of abusing staffers at the Academy.
Dugan countered with a public complaint with the Los Angeles Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that accused the Academy of a raft of misdeeds, including manipulating the voting process, as well as allegations of sexual misconduct against both Portnow and a board member, entertainment attorney Joel Katz.
Both Mr. Katz and Mr. Portnow denied the allegations Dugan leveled against them.