Valeisha Butterfield Jones
Valeisha Butterfield Jones (Courtesy photo)

Valeisha Butterfield Jones, a leader, global influencer and culture shifter who co-founded the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WENN) and served as director of the national youth vote for President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, has been named the Recording Academy’s first chief diversity and inclusion officer.

The Los Angeles-based academy, which consists of musicians, producers, recording engineers and other musical professionals, is most famous for the Grammy Awards, which recognize achievements in the music industry.

Butterfield confirmed the appointment on Instagram.

“The mission continues, and I’m deeply honored to join you on this journey,” Butterfield wrote.

“We are thrilled to welcome Valeisha Butterfield Jones into the Recording Academy family,” Harvey Mason, the academy’s chair and interim president and CEO, said in a statement. “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,” Mason said. “We are so fortunate to have Valeisha’s leadership in this crucial area.”

Variety reported that Butterfield Jones would report directly to Mason beginning on May 11. According to the announcement, she will join the executive leadership team responsible for advancing the Recording Academy’s mission and ensuring that diversity and inclusion are core to business values and standards, and demonstrated throughout the organization.

Butterfield Jones will “design, build and implement world-class programs and industry standards focused on inclusion, belonging and representation for underrepresented communities and creators,” according to the news release.

The daughter of U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) and North Carolina state Legislator Jean Farmer Butterfield, Butterfield Jones most recently served as Google’s global head of women and Black community engagement.

Butterfield Jones served in the Obama administration as the deputy director of public affairs for the International Trade Administration. She also held the post of executive vice president of Rush Communications and national director of diversity and inclusion for the Alzheimer’s Association.

She maintains a seat on the national board of directors of ColorComm, MC Lyte’s Hip Hop Sisters Network, and iVote.

“The Recording Academy has an opportunity and responsibility to ensure that diversity and inclusion are embedded in its core values,” Butterfield Jones said. “I’m deeply honored to join the Academy as we enter a new chapter of transformational growth, leadership, and change. During this unprecedented time in world history, together, we will double-down on our focus to drive systemic change and equitable outcomes for underrepresented communities and creators.”

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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