Women’s History Month: 31 days of amazing women

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Every day brings women’s notable events, achievements, births and deaths in March aka Women’s History Month:

March 1, 1945 – Nancy Woodhull is born. She was a founding editor at USA TODAY and worked to redefine how women are covered in the news.

March 2, 1950 – Karen Carpenter is born. The three-time Grammy-award winning singer and drummer brought attention to eating disorders, which affect 20 million women in the U.S.

March 3, 1887 – Helen Keller meets Anne Sullivan, her teacher and life-long friend. Sullivan helped Keller become the first blind-deaf person to graduate from college, and the pair advocated for people with disabilities.

March 3, 1962 – Jackie Joyner-Kersee is born. The six-time Olympic medalist is considered one of the world’s greatest female athletes and holds the world record in the heptathlon.

March 4, 1917 – Jeannette Rankin, R-Mont., takes her seat as the first female member of Congress. Rankin was a life-long pacifist and opposed both World Wars while in office.

March 5, 1931 – Geraldyn (Jerrie) Cobb is born. She became the first woman to pass qualifying exams for astronaut training in 1959 but wasn’t allowed to train because of her gender.

March 6, 1986 – Georgia O’Keefe dies. She was a pre-eminent artist who laid the foundation for American modernism with her paintings of enlarged flowers and New Mexico landscapes.

March 7, 1938 – Janet Guthrie is born. She became a female race car driver and qualified for and competed in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500 in 1977.

March 8, 1914 – International Women’s Day is held. After the 1914 celebration and push for equality, the day has become an annual staple for global awareness around women’s issues.

March 9, 1959 – The first Barbie doll debuts. The fashion toy has become a symbol of both female empowerment and unrealistic beauty standards.

March 9, 1910 – Sue Lee is born. The San Francisco labor organizer led a 15-week strike against a garment factory, fighting for better working conditions and increased wages.

March 9, 1928 – Graciela Olivarez is born. The first woman and Latina graduate from Notre Dame Law School, she fought for Mexican-American rights and worked to decrease poverty.

March 10, 1903 – Clare Booth Luce is born. She served as ambassador to Italy in the 1950s, one of the top ambassador positions held by a woman at the time.

March 11, 1993 – Janet Reno is confirmed as the first woman to be U.S. Attorney General.

March 12, 1912 – First-ever Girl Scouts meeting is held in Savannah, Ga. The organization has grown to 2.7 million members.

March 12, 1968 – Tammy Duckworth is born. She became the first disabled woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and the second Asian-American woman in the Senate.

March 13, 1986 – Susan Butcher wins Iditarod, becoming the second woman ever to win the Alaskan dog sled race.

March 14, 1997 – Simone Biles is born. She becomes the most decorated American gymnast, winning four gold medals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

March 15, 1933 – Ruth Bader Ginsburg is born. She is the second female U.S. Supreme Court Justice and spent her legal career advocating for women’s rights before taking the bench.

March 16, 1850 – Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is published. Hawthorne’s work explored women’s societal roles in Puritan Boston.

March 17, 2000 – Julia Roberts becomes the first female actor ever to earn $20 million for a single film in Erin Brockovich.

March 18, 1964 – Bonnie Blair is born. She is a five-time Olympic speed skating gold medalist and the most decorated female Winter Olympian in U.S. history.

March 19, 1947 –  Glenn Close is born. A multi-time Emmy, Tony and Oscars Award winner, she has also advocated for women’s and LGBT rights.

March 20, 1982 – Joan Jett’s I Love Rock ‘n Roll hits No. 1 on Billboard charts. Jett is a pioneer for female rock musicians.

March 20, 1852 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published and becomes the best-selling book of the 19th century.

March 21, 1986 – Debi Thomas becomes the first African-American woman to win the World Figure Skating Championship.

March 22, 1972 – Congress passes the Equal Rights Amendment, which granted equal rights for women but was never ratified by the required number of states.

March 23, 1924 – Bette Nesmith Graham is born. She invented Liquid Paper correction fluid, a brand of white-out.

March 24, 1912 – Dorothy Height is born. She served more than 40 years as president of the National Council of Negro Women and worked to foster interracial dialogue.

March 25, 1934 – Gloria Steinem is born. She became a leader of “second wave” feminism and remains one today.

March 26, 1940 – Nancy Pelosi is born. She became the first and so far only female U.S. speaker of the House in 2007.

March 26, 1930 – Sandra Day O’Connor is born. She became the first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice in 1981.

March 27, 1924 – Margaret Butler is born. She was the first female fellow at the American Nuclear Society and advocated for women in science and math fields.

March 28, 1982 – First NCAA women’s college basketball national championship game: Louisiana Tech vs. Cheyney 76-62. (Before it was the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.)

March 29, 1928 – Joan Kelly is born. She was a leading Italian Renaissance historian and challenged dominant notions of women’s roles during that time.

March 30, 1911 – Ellen Swallow Richards dies. She was the first woman admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and also its first female instructor.

March 31, 1888 – Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Julia Ward Howe and Sojourner Truth, among others, organize The National Council of Women of the U.S., the oldest American non-sectarian women’s organization.

Source: USA Today

Jane Fonda Made a Powerful Statement With Her 2020 Oscars Dress and Coat

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Jane Fonda wears red dress and carries red coat on the red carpet

Jane Fonda knows how to make a fashion statement. The Grace and Frankie star looked stunning while presenting the award for Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars, and she made every single detail of her outfit count. The 82-year-old actress stepped onto the stage at the 92nd Academy Awards in a ruby red, beaded Elie Saab gown with a red coat and a gray pixie haircut.

As part of her fight against climate change, Jane chose to wear the long-sleeve, open back dress for a second time after originally debuting it at the 67th International Cannes Film Festival in 2014.

The activist also added a simple, yet powerful touch with her now-famous red coat. Back in November, she declared it was “the last article of clothing” she would ever buy.

“When I talk to people and say, ‘We don’t really need to keep shopping. We shouldn’t look to shopping for our identity. We don’t need more stuff,’ I have to walk the talk,” she said on Capitol Hill. “So I’m not buying any more clothes.” Since then, the coat has accompanied her to a handful of protests and subsequently, to jail.

And to pack the final punch, the former fitness guru traded in her signature blonde bob for a silver pixie cut. She was also considerate about donning Pomellato jewelry “because it only uses responsible, ethically harvested gold and sustainable diamonds.”

Fans watching the 2020 Oscars from home applauded Jane for speaking her mind wherever she goes.

“So beautiful and true to her beliefs! Thanks for standing up for our Earth!” one person wrote on Instagram. “YES our environmentally conscious queen,” another added. “You look so powerful in that dress ❤️😍” a fan commented.

Continue on to Good Housekeeping to read the complete article.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira delivered a red-hot Super Bowl halftime performance in Miami

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Jennifer Lopez Super Bowl draped in Puerto Rican flag during Halftime show

The Latina powerhouses were joined on stage by J Balvin and Lopez’s daughter.

Ever since Shakira and Jennifer Lopez were announced as headlining the Super Bowl LIV Halftime show, it was expected that the two would bring the Latino Power, and the singers did not disappoint.

The divas delivered a nearly 15-minute performance that began with Shakira, who opened with “She Wolf,” followed by a medley of her hit songs, including “Whenever, Wherever” and “Hips Don’t Lie.” Viewers at home and in the stadium were surprised to hear Shakira launch into “I Like It,” the song made famous by Cardi B., until Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny, who was featured on the track, joined in on a Super Bowl remix of sorts. Shakira also wowed with her guitar playing — or slaying — skills, nodding to Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” as she belly danced atop a fiery projection.

J. Lo’s performance followed with a demonstration of her pole dancing talents, courtesy of the movie “Hustlers,” in which she stars. It was just one of a dozen-plus choreographed pieces which showed her versatility as a performer and, yes, as a singer. Among her greatest hits mini-set were the classics “Jenny from the Block” followed by snippets of “I’m Real,” and “Get Right.” She then changed into a silver and nude one-piece and launched into “Waiting for Tonight.”

Colombian artist J Balvin joined Lopez for a performance of “Que Calor,” while she sang “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” The two switched to “Mi Gente,” on which Balvin collaborates on with Beyoncé, who was also in the building. As Balvin exited the stage, Lopez went into “On the Floor” and touched hands with her daughter Emme, who led as a vocalist in a chorus of children performing a slowed-down moving version of “Let’s Get Loud.” This was followed by Emme, whose father is Marc Anthony (also present in the stadium), delivering the chorus to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” Referencing her own heritage, Lopez was draped in a coat bearing the Puerto Rican flag.

Continue on to Variety to read the complete article.

Michelle Obama Is On Her Way To Becoming An EGOT

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Michelle Obama dresses in all white giving a thumbs up sign

Our forever FLOTUS Michelle Obama is officially a member of the Grammy family, and on her way to the coveted EGOT status, meaning she’s earned an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award.

On Sunday, Obama won Best Spoken Word Album for the audio recording of her New York Times bestselling memoir, Becoming, which chronicles her life, from her childhood in Chicago to her days in the White House. Released in 2018, the book has held a place on the bestsellers list for 58 weeks.

The Best Spoken Word Album award goes to noteworthy audiobooks, storytelling and poetry recordings. Other nominees in the category included, National Poetry Slam winner Sekou Andrews and the Beastie Boys. Although Obama wasn’t there to collect her golden gramophone, jazz singer and fellow Grammy winner Esperanza Spaulding graciously accepted it on her behalf.

Snagging this honor from the recording academy puts Obama in good company with Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr. and her husband Barack Obama. The former president is a two-time Grammy winner for Dreams From My Father (2006) and The Audacity of Hope (2008).

Obama is the second first lady to add the Best Spoken Word trophy to her mantle. In 1997, Hillary Clinton received the award for the audiobook of It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us.

Although this is Obama’s first Grammy win, in 2012 she landed a nod for her audiobook American Grown. But she didn’t actually record the audio for that book.

Snagging this honor from the recording academy puts Obama in good company with Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr. and her husband Barack Obama. The former president is a two-time Grammy winner for Dreams From My Father (2006) and The Audacity of Hope (2008).

Obama is the second first lady to add the Best Spoken Word trophy to her mantle. In 1997, Hillary Clinton received the award for the audiobook of It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us.

Although this is Obama’s first Grammy win, in 2012 she landed a nod for her audiobook American Grown. But she didn’t actually record the audio for that book.

Fans must wait until the Oscars on Sunday, February 9 to see if Obama gets another step closer to the small group of celebrities enjoying rare EGOT air. There’s only 15 people who have the honor, and only two Black entertainers—Whoopi Goldberg and John Legend.

Continue on to Essence to read the complete article.

Cynthia Erivo could become the youngest EGOT winner

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Cynthia Erivo on the red carpet at the premiere Of HBO's "The Outsider"

Cynthia Erivo is one step closer to EGOT status with an Oscar nomination for her turn as the iconic freedom fighter and suffragist Harriet Tubman in Kasi Lemmons’ ‘Harriet.’

British actress Cynthia Erivo was nominated for her first Oscar on Monday morning for her performance as the iconic freedom fighter and abolitionist Harriet Tubman in Kasi Lemmons’ “Harriet.”

The stage and screen actress (along with powerhouse singer — she is also nominated in the original song category) also earned Golden Globe, SAG and Critics’ Choice nominations for the role.

And while BAFTA controversially snubbed acting nominees of color entirely, the ceremony still asked her to perform (she declined).

Erivo was the only person of color nominated for an acting Oscar this year.

“Harriet,” distributed by Focus Features, exceeded box office forecasts when it opened in November, debuting to $12 million on its way to $43 million to date in global ticket sales. It marks the first feature leading role for Erivo, who stole scenes in 2018’s “Widows” and “Bad Times at the El Royale.”

She was first approached about “Harriet” while in the midst of a Tony-winning turn in the Broadway production of “The Color Purple.” The production is also responsible for her subsequent Grammy (for the cast recording) and Daytime Emmy (for a cast performance on NBC’s “Today”) wins. (For those who don’t want to count Daytime Emmys in EGOT status, Erivo will also headline the upcoming limited series “Genius: Aretha” for National Geographic. And playing music singer Aretha Franklin could put her in Primetime Emmy contention as well.)

Continue on to the LA Times to read the complete article.

Tiffany Haddish Stars in ‘Like a Boss,’ in Theaters Today

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Like a Boss premiere photo of the cast, including Tiffany Hassish, pose on the pink carpet

Tiffany Haddish is her usual hilarious self in the new film Like a Boss, which recently opened across the nation. In it, Mia (Haddish) and her best friend, Mel (Rose Byrne), are living their best lives running the own cosmetics company they’ve built from the ground up.

Unfortunately, however, they’re in over their heads financially and the prospect of a big buyout offer from a notorious titan of the cosmetics industry, Claire Luna (Salma Hayek), proves too tempting to pass up, which puts Mel and Mia’s lifelong friendship in jeopardy. The beauty business is about to get ugly.

The Paramount Pictures film, directed by Miguel Arteta and executive produced by Haddish and Nicolas Stern, also stars Billy Porter, Jennifer Coolidge, Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell, Jessica St. Clair and Karan Soni.

Watch the Trailer!

Continue on to Ebony to read the complete article.

Awkwafina makes Globes’ history with ‘Farewell’ acting win

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Awkwafina holds up her Golden Globe smiling at this year's event in Beverly Hills

Awkwafina said she had a “mind-blowing” experience after learning backstage she made history at the Golden Globes. The rapper and actress on Sunday became the first woman of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe for best actress in a musical or comedy film for her starring role in “The Farewell.” She’s best known for her comic role in “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Awkwafina believes she has more to prove.

“It’s pretty mind-blowing,” she said. “It feels incredible. There’s also another feeling that you are going to do more. I hope this is just the beginning.”

Awkwafina shifted course to play a young woman in a Chinese family that is keeping their matriarch’s cancer a secret from her in director Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell.” She said she particularly related to the film.

“Immigrants in this country who were raised to feel very American … and when we go back where, you know, we’re told that you don’t belong here and you go back to where you belong,” she said. “You feel like a stranger there and this constant feeling of being lost in translation. And I think that’s what really resonated with me in ‘The Farewell.’”
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The win is part of a breakout two-year run for the 31-year-old actress, who had a breakthrough year in 2018 after appearances in “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Ocean’s 8.”

Continue on to the Washington Post to read the complete article.

Uber passenger pays off driver’s outstanding college debt

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Latonya Young wearing cap and gown pictured with Uber passenger kevin esch

A Georgia Uber driver recently graduated from Georgia State thanks to a man who helped her pay an outstanding debt that prevented her in finishing her degree program.

According to ABC News , Latonya Young recently graduated from the Atlanta university after starting her college journey many years ago. At age 43, Young now has an associate’s degree in criminal justice.

Her return to college was made possible thanks to an Uber passenger. According to ABC News, Young had picked up Kevin Esch for a 20-minute ride. Young told Esch about her desire to go back to college, but that a $700 outstanding debt prevented her from enrolling.

Shortly after the ride, Esch decided to help the mother of three out. Nearly 18 months later, Esch was there to see Young graduate.

“I have thanked him so much but I feel like I haven’t thanked him enough,” Young told “Good Morning America.” “It was not just the money but his willingness and his sacrifice for me to do better in life.”

“It was something I could do that I thought was worth it and would really help her,” Esch told “GMA.”

Continue on to KXLF to read the complete article.

Finding a Place to Belong at Yale and Beyond

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Alanna Pyke pictured smiling leaning casually on her homes stairway

By Susan Gonzalez/Yale News

“Community” is the word graduating senior Alanna Pyke utters most often when reflecting on her time at Yale College.

“What I really came to value here is a sense of community and being a part of something that is bigger than myself,” says Pyke of her Yale experience.

For Pyke, one of the most valuable communities was the one she found at the Native American Cultural Center (NACC), the place that inspired her to choose Yale out of the more than 15 colleges that accepted her, and where she experienced a deep sense of belonging. She was impressed by the fact that an entire building was dedicated for the NACC.

“The Native community and also Dean [Kelly] Fayard [assistant dean of Yale College and director of the NACC] were such a huge part of my Yale experience,” says Pyke. “The NACC at 26 High St. is a welcoming place, where you can go to relax or study or see friends. I spent a lot of time there.”

Pyke — the first Native student to be valedictorian of Massena Central High School in New York — says that no one in recent memory from her high school or her reservation had gone to Yale. Feeling supported on campus, while maintaining a connection to her indigenous roots, was important to her.

A member of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, Pyke grew up in upstate New York on the Akwesasne Reservation, which straddles the New York and Canadian border along the St. Lawrence River. Prior to seventh grade, she went to an elementary school on the reservation where she was taught the Mohawk language.

At her next school, which was predominantly white, Mohawk was not taught; Pyke was told that she could study French or Spanish instead.

“I remember crying when I found that out,” the Yale senior recalls. “I didn’t know why I was crying at the time but I know I thought it was a big deal that I couldn’t continue learning Mohawk. I eventually realized why it was a big deal: At school, I was no longer connected to my culture.”

As a first-year student at Yale, Pyke had a job as a first-year liaison at the NACC, helping new students feel welcome at the center. She soon found herself spending time there after her shift, and was encouraged by other Native students to attend special events or meetings or to take on leadership roles.

While she says she was initially “a little too shy” to hold an official post, she quickly found herself a member of the NACC-affiliated Association for Native American Students at Yale (ANAAY), the American Indian Science & Engineering Society, Yale Sisters of All Nations, and the Yale Native American Arts Council.

Pyke, who is majoring in molecular, cellular, and development biology (MCDB), acknowledges that it was sometimes challenging to balance her studies, research commitments, and leadership duties in the Native community. She says she is grateful for having the opportunity to study Mohawk at Yale (via the Native American Language Program) and was active in a student campaign to lobby the Yale administration to offer for-credit courses in indigenous languages.

As a woman of color in STEM, the Yale senior says the mentors she had in the sciences were vital to her success, and she is particularly thankful for the Science, Technology and Research Scholars (STARS) Program, which supports women, minority, economically underprivileged, and other historically underrepresented students in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

In addition to mentoring, the program provides research opportunities, networking, courses and workshops, and career planning to undergraduates in STEM disciplines.

While participating in a STARS Summer Research Program, she took a science course co-taught by a group of faculty members including Marina Moreno, associate research scientist and instructor in MCDB, who became Pyke’s faculty adviser. Moreno is also one of the STARS coordinators.

“She helped me through this entire endeavor of getting an education,” says Pyke. “Without the STARS program, there’s a big chance I wouldn’t have stayed in STEM. I don’t think I would have made it without Dr. Moreno and STARS mentor Rob Fernandez.”

This summer, Pyke will begin Harvard University’s Research Scholar Initiative, a post-baccalaureate program to enhance scholars’ competitiveness for Ph.D. programs. She is interested in continuing genetics or genomics research in the future.

“Many Native communities have a distrust of science generally and of genetic science in particular,” says Pyke. “It’s been used wrongly in the past, or used without consent.”

Pyke hopes to give back to her own community through scholarship. “Representation is important because it will inspire future generations of Native scholarship and scientists, and add diverse perspectives to different fields,” she says.

Source: news.yale.edu

Demi Lovato Will Sing National Anthem at Super Bowl LIV

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Demi Lovato on stage singing

Demi Lovato will sing the National Anthem before kickoff at Super Bowl LIV, taking place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on February 2nd.

The news comes shortly after she was announced as a performer for the 62nd Grammy Awards on January 26th.

The singer confirmed the news on Instagram, writing, “Singing the National Anthem at #SBLIV 🏈 🏈 🏈 See you in Miami 🌴 @NFL.”

The National Anthem will be broadcast around the world as part of the Super Bowl’s pregame show. Past National Anthem performers include Whitney Houston, the Dixie Chicks, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, Mariah Carey, the Backstreet Boys, Pink, Alicia Keys and Idina Menzel.

Christine Sun Kim will sing the National Anthem in American Sign Language on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).

The NFL and Fox previously announced that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will be the halftime performers for Super Bowl LIV.

Continue on to MSN to read the complete article.

The Recording Academy Moves Forward With Diversity & Inclusion Efforts

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Collage of women recording artists

The Recording Academy®, the leading society of music professionals and the organization behind the GRAMMY Awards®, will implement recommendations set forth by the Recording Academy Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, including restructuring its Board of Trustees to ensure that music creators from the broadest range of ages, backgrounds, genders, genres, crafts and regions are fully represented within the organization’s leadership.

At the Academy’s invitation, the Task Force convened in March 2018 to examine issues of diversity and inclusion within the Recording Academy and the broader music community. On Dec. 12, 2019, the Task Force issued an official report, which sets forth specific reforms and recommendations for the Recording Academy and outlines issues that continue to affect underrepresented people within the broader music community. Veteran attorney, former first lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, and TIME’S UP CEO Tina Tchen chaired the Task Force.

“The mission of the Recording Academy is to serve and advocate for music creators from all genres and of all genders and generations,” said Recording Academy President/CEO Deborah Dugan. “We have recently made tremendous progress and I’m proud to report that our leadership team is currently 50 percent female and that the 2019 Academy membership class is the most diverse in our history. However, there is still work to be done. We are deeply committed to continuing to implement the Task Force’s recommendations and building a community that is truly representative of our diverse and dynamic creators.”

“Over the course of the last year and a half, the Task Force dedicated hundreds of hours of their time to conduct a thorough analysis of how the Recording Academy could do better to create a diverse and inclusive environment for all workers and music creators. We owe a debt of gratitude to the impressive lineup of leaders from throughout the music industry who served on the Task Force for their tireless commitment to changing the Academy, and the industry, for the better,” said Tchen. “We are also so grateful for the full cooperation and participation of the Recording Academy at every step, and are encouraged by the commitment to change they announced today.”

The Task Force report outlines a range of recommendations that touch virtually every part of the Academy’s operations, from internal policies and organizational structure to the GRAMMY® nominations process. The Recording Academy has already made significant progress toward implementing 17 of the 18 reforms set forth by the Task Force, including ensuring gender parity on Awards and Governance committees, publicly reporting on the demographic composition of its workforce across different levels of seniority, and increasing outreach to diverse communities, which include key initiatives for female producers and engineers.

Additionally, in 2020, the Recording Academy will formulate formal diversity and inclusion goals for the Academy’s Board of Trustees and adopt a new Board structure that will prioritize identifying and elevating a diverse range of music creators to positions of leadership on the Board.

The Academy will continue to research the report’s recommendation to change portions of the GRAMMY Award voting process to a ranked-choice system.

The full Recording Academy Diversity and Inclusion Task Force Report can be found here.

An overview of the Recording Academy’s progress implementing the recommendations of the Task Force can be found here.

ABOUT THE RECORDING ACADEMY
The Recording Academy represents the voices of performers, songwriters, producers, engineers, and all music professionals. Dedicated to ensuring the recording arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, the Academy honors music’s history while investing in its future through the GRAMMY Museum®, advocates on behalf of music creators, supports music people in times of need through MusiCares®, and celebrates artistic excellence through the GRAMMY Awards—music’s only peer-recognized accolade and highest achievement. As the world’s leading society of music professionals, we work year-round to foster a more inspiring world for creators.

For more information about the Academy, please visit grammy.com.