In June 2020, Harvey Mason Jr. said to Rated R&B he wanted to lead the Recording Academy to be the best it can be. The music great will make good on his promise as he officially assumes the role of the Academy’s President/CEO on June 1. His promotion comes a year and a half after accepting an unpaid position as acting leader in January 2020.
Mason’s elevation is linked to his commitment to aid the music community with financial support and resources during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Through MusiCares, more than $24 million was raised and distributed to music creators and professionals to help them with high-priority bills and expenses.
With transparency top of mind for Mason, other positive changes were made during his tenure, such as more openness about the Grammy Awards process and eliminating the anonymous nomination review committees.
Many conversational awards were renamed, including Best Progressive R&B Album, previously titled Best Urban Contemporary Album.
The Black Music Collective, aimed at amplifying the voices of Black music creators through new ideas and opportunities, was also launched under his leadership.
“There is nothing more rewarding than having the trust and respect of your colleagues and peers. I am honored to have been appointed to continue to lead the Recording Academy on our transformative journey. While I had not initially expected to be in this position, I remain deeply invested in the success of the organization and am motivated to help us achieve our greatest ambitions. I will serve humbly with a steadfast commitment to building a more inclusive, responsive and relevant Academy,” said Mason in a statement.
“We are delighted that Harvey will remain at the helm and continue to steer the organization through this pivotal time,” said search committee co-chairs John Burk and Leslie Ann Jones in a joint statement. “As we journeyed deeper into our extensive search, it became clear that the best person for the job was Harvey. We are immensely impressed by the remarkable work he has done during his interim tenure and look forward to the continued evolution of the Academy under his effective, results-driven leadership.”
Mason will no longer hold the seat as Chair of the Academy’s Board.
In addition to speaking with Rated R&B about the Grammys last year, Mason shared stories about studio sessions with Whitney Houston, Tamar Braxton, Chris Brown, Monica, and Tyrese. Revisit our Board + Pen installment with Mason here.