Americana Establishes Committee to Address Issues of Inclusivity, Identity and Representation

Current public initiatives include "All Americana" social media campaign and conference panels spotlighting Black, Hispanic/Latine, LGBTQ+ voices during 2021 AMERICANAFEST


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 17, 2021) – In an ongoing effort to fulfill its mission to advocate for the authentic voice of American roots music around the world, the Americana Music Association announced today the formation of a committee that is addressing issues of inclusivity, representation and identity within the Americana community. A list of current initiatives and members of the committee can be found below.

Today, the association has also shared its new identity statement across all platforms which proudly says, “All Colors. All Genders. All Abilities. All Sizes. All Orientations. All Identities. All Americana.” In line with this statement, the committee was established to declare the 21-year-old association’s ongoing commitment to representation in the Americana community to ensure a welcoming space for all identities as well as to educate on the rich and diverse history of American roots music. Its members include Brandi Carlile (Artist), Garth Fundis (Producer, President of the Americana Music Association Board of Directors), Courtney Gregg (Carnival Music), David Macias (Thirty Tigers), Jacquelyn Marushka (Marushka Media), Leyla McCalla (Artist), Allison Russell (Artist), Shannon Sanders (BMI/Producer) and Caroline Randall Williams (Author/Activist/Teacher), plus Americana Music Association Executive Director Jed Hilly and Manager of Marketing and Member Relations Anna Lee Williams who serve as facilitators.

“This committee was formed as an imperfect response to a heard need,” said Hilly. “It is a group that was established with people who have the insight and rapport to meet this moment.”

In February 2021, the committee began meeting regularly to discuss how the association can actively engage the roots music world in spreading the awareness of its message. Its first public initiative started this past April in the form of the continuing “All Americana” social media campaign, which invited committee members Russell and Sanders along with musicians Joe Henry, Amythyst Kiah, Raul Malo, Tift Merritt and Jerry Pentecost to share their own insight and personal connections to the genre via the Americana Music Association’s Instagram Stories. Topics included naming musicians from the past who’ve inspired them and those who continue to inspire them today, as well as the journey of Americana music over time and where these sounds originated. This education and context has aimed to provide a better understanding of the genre’s diverse past while highlighting its current state and the progress that is left to make.

In addition to its online initiative, the association also plans to bring these important conversations in-person to attendees this September in the form of conference panels during its 21st annual AMERICANAFEST in Nashville. Curated by committee members, a variety of this year’s sessions will celebrate the legacies and cultural impact of Black, Hispanic/Latine* and LGBTQ+ communities within Americana. The association will curate additional panels with under-celebrated communities into the fall following the conference.

“Our intention is to continue to instill appreciation, understanding and unity through the celebration of what makes our tapestry so colorful,” added Hilly.

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