As part of its efforts to support music creators on a global scale, the Recording Academy, the organisers of the Grammy Awards, has announced plans to create an African version of the prestigious award scheme.

This will satisfy the music needs and collaborate on a framework to bolster the Academy's presence and services in rapidly growing music regions, just as was done for Latin Grammys in 1997.

In tandem with this, the Recording Academy has entered into special agreements with Ministries of Cultures and key stakeholders, not only in Africa, but also across the Middle East.

“This is exciting because music is one of humanity’s greatest natural resources,” said Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. “It is critical that the people who dedicate themselves to creating music have support, resources and opportunities, no matter where they are from.”

For the past two years, the Academy’s leaders have traveled throughout these regions, participated in listening sessions, received high-level briefings, tours, demonstrations, and obtained insight directly from both the governmental ministries and music creators driving innovation in these markets.

The Academy is working with the Ministries of Culture in Kenya, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Nigeria, the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), and the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture in South Africa. Additionally, MOUs have been signed with Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

Through these collaborations, and in alignment with our mission, the Academy looks to explore several key initiatives, including:

(1). Championing music creators at all levels, providing them with a platform and advocacy.

(2) Empowering creators through enhanced training. Through its online learning platform, GRAMMY GOTM, the Academy will look to provide educational programs and resources specifically tailored to the needs of music creators in these regions.

(3) Producing original content that celebrates the rich musical heritage and dynamic emerging scenes of Africa and the Middle East.

(4) Enhancing support for existing members. Cross-cultural learnings will benefit all music creators, and a presence in these rapidly growing music regions would provide numerous benefits to the Recording Academy’s current and future members.

(5) Advocating for strong Intellectual Property (IP) legislation and protections for music creators.

(6) Fueling the music economy by collaborating with partners to develop and strengthen the creative economy in Africa and the Middle East.

(7) As a cornerstone of this initiative, the Academy will publish a series of reports, highlighting the Academy's research and insights into these music markets.

The Recording Academy is dedicated to supporting music creators around the world," said Panos A. Panay, Recording Academy President. "Our expansion efforts into these fast-growing regions reflect our commitment to fostering a truly global music community, where creators at every stage of their careers and from every corner of the world have the resources and support they need to thrive."

This exploration into the Middle East and Africa is only the first phase of plans to support music creators abroad and comes the same year the Academy celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Latin GRAMMY Awards, and months after Seville hosted the Latin GRAMMY Awards, the first GRAMMY Awards show to be held overseas. Also, last year, the Recording Academy partnered with the U.S. State Department on an initiative to promote peace through music.

Reacting to the news, Ghanaian creative entrepreneur based in the United Kingdom, Dentaa Amoateng, expressed his excitement about the development.

The Chief Executive of GUBA Enterprise who has been instrumental in initiating the move to incorporate African music into the Grammy's operations wrote on social media:

"Finally, the news is out – Grammy Africa! As a senior consultant to the President and CEO of the Recording Academy (Grammys), we have been working behind the scenes for this historic moment. Over the past year and a half, I have had the privilege of working with the Grammys team to make this vision a reality with my brothers @liban_soleman @efe_one.

This journey has included organizing meetings with heads of state and leaders to ensure a successful global expansion.

I am incredibly thankful to be part of this historic milestone in the global expansion of the Recording Academy. Thank you @harveymasonjr for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity!
Thank you @strqtv it all started with you!" she wrote.

Creation of the African Music Performance category

In 2023, the Recording Academy of the Grammy Awards created a new category for music from Africa.

This came after news broke that the scheme was considering creating a category for Afrobeats (to represent music from Africa).

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Recording Academy, Harvey Manson Jnr. upon his visit to Ghana in 2022 reiterated move and mentioned how meticulous they were in getting the right representation for African music.

The Best African Music Performance category is one of the three new slots that have been added to the 2024 edition of the prestigious awards scheme. The other two are the Best Alternative Jazz Album and Best Pop Dance Recording.

Music genres that form part of this category include Ghanaian drill and highlife.

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