The Recording Academy announced Thursday that it had invited 900 music creatives to its governing body. All of the invitees, who were pre-qualified to vote by the Recording Academy, are female and/or people of color and/or under 39, Billboard reports.
The Recording Academy has been under pressure to diversify its membership following the 2018 ceremony in which there was a distinct lack of success for women artists and artists of color. Grammys head Neil Portnow came under fire for comments made during an afterparty for the ceremony in which he said that female artists should "step up" if they wanted to recognized. Portnow subsequently announced his decision to step down from his leadership role in the organization in 2019.
Task Force chair Tina Tchen told Billboard the Member Invitation Initiative is “a first step. We hope to work with the Academy in the coming months to do it again next year in a more organized way, but we wanted to do [it] right away to affect this year’s awards season.”
The Recording Academy membership is made up of approximately 13,000 voting members, 21 percent of which are women. Billboard's report reveals that 55 percent of the voting membership identify as white, and 28 percent as people of color, while 17 percent declined to disclose.
The 2019 Grammy Awards will take place on February 10 next year.