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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The new task for Tina Tchen

Por MRod

Recording Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow announced the establishment of an independent task force to address female advancement in the music industry, and the organization has selected Tina Tchen, who served as chief of staff to former First Lady Michelle Obama, to head the task force. She said that “It’s going to take sustained effort and sustained conversation in keeping this in the public eye even when it's not the topic of the day”

Advancing female inclusion and diversity issues, a new task force will be charged with identifying "the various barriers and unconscious biases faced by underrepresented communities throughout the music industry and, specifically, across Recording Academy operations and policies,” looking at governance, hiring and promotion practices, membership, awards and the Grammys telecast, the Recording Academy said in a statement.

In charge of such a job will be Michelle Obama's Former Chief of Staff, Tina Tchen. Although many within the Academy preferred some people of their own to run such a group, Tchen’s outsider status is believed to reflect the Academy’s intent to keep the task force independent and objective."The fact that she lacks business ties to the music industry ensures her objectivity as chair,” Recording Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow, said in a statement. "In this moment, the Recording Academy can do more than reflects what currently exists; we can help lead the industry into becoming the inclusive music community we want it to be -- a responsibility that the board and I take seriously. Tina Tchen is an accomplished advocate for women and impact-oriented leader versed in convening disparate stakeholders for a common purpose”, Portnow added.

Tchen had confessed to Billboard that she worked with the Recording Academy when they were in the White House through the ‘In Performance’ music series. “We had a great working relationship on those events. Neil Portnow called and asked if I would consider being involved with the task force”. While under President Barack Obama's administration, Tchen served as an assistant to Obama, executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls and chief of staff to the First Lady.

That is why she thinks that not having a music background will probably be “both a blessing and a curse”.However, she talked profoundly of her experience when she said: “[Working at] the largest employer on the planet essentially, we put a tremendous emphasis on gender and diversity with working family issues a big part of our overall agenda. We hosted the first ever White House summit on working families in 2014 to promote policies and practices like equal pay and paid leave; the kinds of things that would break down barriers to true diversity in leadership, the work force and entrepreneurship across the board.”

When asked about the time that will take to change reality at the Academy she was emphatic: “Gender discrimination has transcended time, geography and culture. It's been around in every kind of workplace, in our homes and schools. So it's going to take us longer than an awards cycle or two to really address these issues in any industry because we're dealing with a broader cultural attitude around women, women in power and the quality of diversity.” Nevertheless, many people related to the industry thinks that her nomination as chief will shed light into this phenomenon.