Grammys to Require More Diverse Hiring for Next Show's Production

The Grammy Awards have sung inclusion into the hiring of staff for next year's awards show.

The Recording Academy released a document Tuesday outlining how they were going to achieve diversity within all levels of production. The "inclusion rider" requires producers to recruit and hire more diverse candidates on screen and behind the scenes who have been in groups excluded from the industry in the past.

According to the initiative created by co-authors Kalpana Kotagal and Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, the rider is an addendum to a contract that creates conditions for more equitable casting and hiring, focused on developing a diverse talent pipeline in the entertainment industry.

"The inclusion rider is something that will provide an opportunity for people that may not have had one before," Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. said in a recent interview.

Mason has expressed excitement about the possible change this could bring to the industry and hopes the concept can "move the needle."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Grammy Awards
FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, various Grammy Awards are displayed at the Grammy Museum Experience at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The Grammys is sticking to its word with the public release of the full inclusion rider to ensure equity and inclusion on all levels of production for next year’s ceremony. The Recording Academy released on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, an eight-page document detailing the rider’s purposes and objectives. The agreement will require producers to recruit and hire more diverse candidates backstage and in front of the camera for the 64th annual awards ceremony on Jan. 31. AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File

The academy's initiative was created in partnership with several groups including the Color of Change; inclusion rider co-authors Kalpana Kotagal and Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni; Ryan Butler, the founding director of Warner Music/Blavatnik Center for Music Business at Howard University; and Valeisha Butterfield Jones, co-president of the Recording Academy.

Mason echoed Kotagal's sentiments of holding people accountable and being committed to put in the "real work" to help create a pipeline for diverse talent. He wants to function under the idea of making sure the academy is "inclusive, diverse and equitable."

The term "inclusion rider" was brought into the spotlight in 2018 when Frances McDormand mentioned it during her best actress Oscar acceptance speech. She was referring to using business contracts as a vehicle to further gender and racial diversity in Hollywood by adding a clause that mandates it.

"Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed," she said, "I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider."

Michael B. Jordan, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Paul Feig and Warner Bros. followed suit by pledging to use inclusion riders in their production projects.

"You're not going to find an organization that cares more about diversity and changing and heading in that direction than us," Mason said. "We are dedicated to that work. I hope we can kind of be a leader in that space and make sure we're doing it in a way that people look and say 'Oh, the academy got that right.'"

The 64th Grammys are scheduled to be held Jan. 31.