With greater diversity and inclusion an increasing priority in many industries, the Grammys is filling its official gift bags with goods from companies that exemplify that.
CBS, which just generated record-setting yearly ratings for Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, will air the 63rd annual Grammy Awards Sunday night. The star-studded celebration is presented by The Recording Academy.
This year’s Grammy freebies are exclusively from brands committed to diversity, inclusion, equity and philanthropy, including a number of BIPOC-owned companies. Select VIPs will find in their swag bags a gift card for the streetwear brand Signed By McFly, a T-shirt and tote from Bonfire’s collaborative line with the Trevor Noah Foundation and a “Respect, Protect and Love the Black Woman” scarf from HGC Apparel, among other products. Noah is hosting the awards event, which will be held on five different stages.
Valued at more than $5,000 each, the gift bags will be given to all of the presenters and performers. That is some serious product placement considering this year’s Grammys roster includes Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, Cardi B, Dora Cat and Taylor Swift among others. Although Champagne-flowing, gift bag-laden hospitality suites may still be on pause, the swag must go on. Each celebrity will have their gift bag shipped directly to their doors or hand delivered, according to a spokeswoman for Distinctive Assets, the Los Angeles-based marketing company, which has curated this year’s bounty.
Backstage at Chanel RTW Fall 2021
Approaching his eighth year in business, Signed By McFly founder Mugzy McFly said he hopes the increased exposure will lead to aid in expansion. With annual sales around $100,000, the New York City-based entrepreneur is eager to expand and has the capabilities to do so. “I’m forever learning and trying to improve,” he said. “I’ve just ventured into footwear and that is the most costly and difficult part,” adding that he is open to working and collaborating with larger companies like Nike.
The designer added, “This is the first time that I’ve ever tried of this magnitude. I’m not opposed to trying new things. Why not? I would rather experience it than not [experience it] and wonder what could have been.”
Referring to what he described as “our most inclusive gift bag yet,” DA founder Lash Fary noted that the selected companies are owned and operated by individuals across race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, age and ability. Acknowledging the quality of their products and the entrepreneurs’ contributions to their communities and beyond, he said in a statement, “This was a year to focus on something bigger than the quantity of items or a price tag.”
Diversity has become more of a focus in recent years for the Grammys. In 2018, the Recording Academy formed an 18-person task force on diversity and inclusion led by chair Tina Tchen and including talents like Common, Andra Day and Jimmy Jam. Of the new members inducted into the Academy in 2020, 50 percent were Caucasian, 21 percent were African American or of African descent, 13 percent did not disclose, 8 percent were Hispanic, 5 percent identified as other and 3 percent were Asian American, Pacific Islander or Asian.
In other music industry news, the Recording Academy recently partnered with the Berklee College of Music and Arizona State University to conduct a study on women’s representation in the music industry. Two years ago the academy pledged to double the number of women voters by 2025. As of now, the organization has reached 33 percent of that goal by adding 831 new women voting members to its base.
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