Grammys Awards 2023: Missy Elliott on Why You Should Know the Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective

Reflecting on the award and her own influence, Elliott said, “I used to be that kid that was talking and rapping to Run-DMC or UTFO … I just didn’t know I would get this far if you would’ve asked me back then. To be a part of hip-hop history…especially because at one point, people thought this was going to be a fad. And we talking about 50 years of hip-hop … I just think it is amazing to be a part of something like that because it’s one thing to come out as an artist, but to leave an impact is another whole thing. It’s a blessing because it’s an incredible milestone for any artist that [has] been a part of this 50 years of hip-hop.”

While just four of the most prominent names in music will be celebrated during the event, the BMC hopes to continue to recognize and represent more Black artists through their work.

“It’s no secret that the Black music community has felt shortchanged or misrepresented by the Academy in the past. And for me, being a Black person and a Black music creator, [the BMC] was really important,” said Mason Jr., noting that the Grammy Awards have suffered backlash for not properly championing BIPOC artists—especially in major categories. “I ran as chair really on the platform of change and looking at how the Academy could be better because I knew how important the Academy was. I knew the work that the Academy did beyond the Grammys and nominations, around Music Cares…those are the things that I knew were great. But I knew we were being hampered or clouded by this impression of the Academy, that we were not as in touch with Black music as we needed to be.”

When asked about changes within the industry since the plight of 2020, Mason Jr. said while there have been some “seismic shifts” there is still a lot of work to be done. 

“When I took the role … it was with the intention that we could do more, we could evolve, we could change as an Academy, for the good of the industry, for the good of the community, for the good of society, really, because I believe that’s how important music is. So I like what’s happened. I hate that it had to brought on by unfortunate events that took place, but this was a direction that we were headed, I was headed, the Academy was headed a few years ago, but I still think that there’s so much more work that can be done.”

Rico Love, who has produced hits for everyone from Usher to Beyoncé and serves as vice chair of the Recording Academy board of trustees and BMC chair, stressed the importance of spreading awareness about what the BMC is and the work they are doing to change the industry. 

“I think that it’s important to understand that the BMC is a year-long, 365 organization and group inside of the Academy. So it’s not just about, Okay, let’s dress up and have this cool party. It’s about what can we do to make sure that we raise awareness about who we are as an academy and spread that word to young people,” he said.

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