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Recording Academy Names HBCU Alum Nzinga Shaw As New Chief DEI Officer

Recording Academy Names HBCU Alum Nzinga Shaw As New Chief DEI Officer

She’s changing the music game!

Nzinga “Zing” Shaw may not be on the Billboard 100, but she continues to rise to the top in the boardroom. An accomplished diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) officer, Shaw is an alumna of Spelman College and holds a master’s from the University of Pennsylvania, Black Enterprise reports. She studied abroad at the prestigious Oxford University, eventually making a name for herself in DEI with her work for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, launching their MOSAIC (Model of Shaping Atlanta through Inclusive Conversations) symposium and making history with the Hawks as the “first professional sports team to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community.” Her work earned her the honor of being the first Chief DEI Officer at three blue chip companies including the NBA, Starbucks, and Edelman. Now she’s expanding her imprint, the Recording Academy recently naming Shaw as their new Chief DEI officer. 

“I am thrilled to introduce Zing to the Recording Academy as our Chief DEO Officer. Her groundbreaking work in the DEI field speaks for itself and we are excited to see how she’ll amplify the Academy’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment and drive positive change throughout the organization,” said Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. 

Like many legacy institutions in America, the Recording Academy has often struggled to get it right. The last few years have brought about a racial reckoning of sorts with many Black artists refusing to stay silent about the blatant snubs in the arts and entertainment industry, sparking reverberating effects that have led to more of us in boardrooms. 34 years ago, Will Smith made headlines when he boycotted the Grammys after making history as the first rapper to win the prestigious award. His issue - a lack of inclusion. Now, more than three decades later, the Recording Academy is still working the kinks out, Shaw’s appointment serving as a reminder of their continuous effort. 

In her new role, Shaw will work directly with Ryan Butler, VP of DEI, and Ricky Lyon, DEI manager, to oversee diversity, equity and inclusion across all arms internally and externally of the Recording Academy. She’ll be responsible for making sure diversity, equity and inclusion undergird organizational and staff culture, membership, awards, initiatives and business values and standards. She’ll be focusing on developing new efforts as well under the organization’s umbrella and work to cultivate a more inclusive culture for future growth. 

In addition to her new role as the Academy’s DEI Officer, Shaw also serves on the Fisk University Board of Trustees, as a member of the ColorComm Board of Directors and the Board of Advisors of Arctos Sports Partners. She also serves on the Board of Councilors for the Carter Center, appointed by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to a six-year term. Shaw said she’s honored to bring her expertise to the Recording Academy and continue their commitment of service to the music community. 

“I am proud to join the Recording Academy and work with a talented team of leaders to cultivate a culture of inclusion that fosters different points of view and empowers diverse colleagues. The organization has made incredible strides in diversity, equity and inclusion over the last few years, and I look forward to being part of the Academy’s continued commitment to supporting both our internal stakeholders and the music community at large,” said Shaw. 

Congratulations Zing! Because of you, we can!

Recording Academy names HBCU alum Nzinga Shaw as new Chief DEI Officer/Photo Courtesy of Byron Small/Sports Business Journal