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  • Grammys Continue to Fail Black Artists, 7 Reasons Why Your Org Isn't Making DEI Progress, & How Leaders Can Navigate Disagreements

Grammys Continue to Fail Black Artists, 7 Reasons Why Your Org Isn't Making DEI Progress, & How Leaders Can Navigate Disagreements

DEI in 5: Biweekly DEI News

Read time: 7 minutes

Today’s Top 3 DEI News Bites👇🏾

A conceptual image depicting a staircase leading up to an open, bright square portal. The stairs are rendered in a gradient of colors ranging from red at the bottom to purple at the top, symbolizing progressive steps or growth.

Credit: Mimi Phan

Summary: Malia C. Lazu's insights reveal why organizations fail to make progress in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), despite seemingly strong commitments. The key to effective DEI implementation lies in addressing underlying company culture through a culture audit.

The Details:

  1. DEI Seen as Charity: Misconceptions about DEI being a form of charity rather than a strategic business move can lead to the underutilization of qualified people of color.

  2. Commitment Without Action: Organizations often proclaim DEI dedication but resist the necessary policy changes and budget allocations to enact it.

  3. Middle Management Resistance: The success of DEI initiatives is often hindered by middle managers who are resistant to change and may feel threatened by new DEI policies.

  4. High Performance ≠ Good Management: The assumption that top earners can lead teams effectively overlooks the need for emotional intelligence and a positive contribution to a diverse work culture.

  5. Ineffective Succession Planning: Without intentional planning and development of diverse talent, leadership will likely remain homogenous.

  6. Lack of Investment: Achieving DEI objectives requires financial and time investments, which organizations often try to avoid.

  7. Exhaustion Among People of Color: The continuous struggle of underrepresented groups within the workplace needs to be acknowledged and addressed in DEI efforts.

Why is this relevant: Understanding and rectifying these entrenched attitudes and practices are essential for any organization aspiring to create a genuinely inclusive environment. Lazu proposes a three-step approach, known as the "3 L's" — Listen, Learn, Love — to build an empathetic culture that fosters real DEI progress. This model encourages personal development in DEI awareness, respectful learning from diverse communities, and taking actions that are authentic and well-received, moving beyond mere intention to impactful change.

A creative representation of a conversation bubble. The main, large bubble is dark blue with a smaller, orange bubble inside it, signifying a dialogue or a response within a larger discussion.

Summary: Ron Carucci's article provides guidance for managers on how to communicate decisions made by higher-ups that they personally disagree with. It's a critical skill for leaders to ensure alignment and maintain team morale in the face of unpopular decisions.

The Details:

  • Regulate Emotions: Managers must first manage their own emotions to present decisions calmly and clearly without personal bias.

  • Gather Information: Understanding the decision-making process and broader context allows for a more informed discussion with the team.

  • Empathy Without Collusion: While empathizing with the team's emotions, managers should avoid joining in any negative sentiment towards upper management.

  • Clarify, Don't Defend: Explain the rationale behind the decision without being defensive or dismissive of the team's concerns.

  • Perspective Taking: Encourage the team to consider the broader challenges and intentions that influenced the decision.

  • Check In: Follow up with the team to address ongoing concerns and behaviors that may arise after the initial discussion.

Why is this relevant: Effective communication of difficult decisions is vital for any leader to maintain trust, encourage resilience, and guide their team through change. Carucci's strategies offer a roadmap for leaders to navigate these challenges with integrity and empathy, ultimately strengthening their leadership and the cohesiveness of their team.

Jay-Z and Blue Ivy Carter on stage at an award ceremony. Jay-Z is giving a speech, dressed in a black suit and holding a small black clutch with a microphone in front of him. Blue Ivy is wearing a white off-the-shoulder satin gown and is holding a white clutch. They are both poised and standing in front of a warm-toned background with a gradient from golden to amber.

VALERIE MACON / Contributor Life & Style

Summary: Jay-Z's comments during his honorary Grammy acceptance speech brought to light ongoing issues with the Recording Academy's treatment of Black artists. Despite being prolific artists, many, including Beyoncé, have not received due recognition in major categories like Album of the Year.

The Details:

  • Jay-Z's Critique: Jay-Z highlighted the Recording Academy's history of overlooking Black artists, including his wife, Beyoncé, who has not won Album of the Year despite holding more Grammys than any other artist.

  • Notable Exceptions: There have been exceptions, like Lauryn Hill's win in 1999 and Outkast's in 2004, but such instances are rare.

  • Hip-Hop's Influence vs. Recognition: Hip-hop, a highly influential genre, has consistently been underrepresented in the Grammys' major categories.

  • Grammy Voting and Membership: The Recording Academy has attempted to diversify its membership, but structural issues in voting processes persist, maintaining the status quo.

Why is this relevant: The speech underscores systemic issues within music award institutions, reflecting broader societal challenges regarding race and recognition. It prompts a critical examination of how award systems align with industry trends and societal values, and it calls for further action to ensure equitable recognition for artists of all backgrounds.

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A few other developments…👇🏾

Until later,

This newsletter is co-curated by Nico Escobar. Need virtual coordination? Social media management? Content creation? Reach out to her!

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