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Recording Academy’s VP of D.E.I. Ryan Butler Tells Us What Brings Him Joy Online

Here at Mozilla, we are the first to admit the internet isn’t perfect, but we are also quick to point out that the internet is pretty darn magical. The internet opens up doors and opportunities, allows for people to connect with others, and lets everyone find where they belong — their corners of the internet. We all have an internet story worth sharing. In My Corner of the Internet, we talk with people about the online spaces they can’t get enough of, what we should save in Pocket to read later and what sites and forums shaped them.

With Pride celebrations taking place throughout June, we’re featuring LGBTQ+ leaders this month as part of our My Corner of the Internet series. In this next installment, Ryan Butler, the Recording Academy’s Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion talks about his love of Janelle Monáe, how TikTok is influencing the music industry, and the importance of creating a safe space for underrepresented voices online through music.

What is your favorite corner of the internet?

I love scrolling through the GRAMMYs TikTok (@GRAMMYs), because it has a ton of feel-good moments from our annual Awards shows. There’s nothing like watching the heartwarming reactions of first-time GRAMMY winners. I still get emotional every time I watch Doja Cat’s acceptance speech from this year’s telecast.

What is an internet deep dive that you can’t wait to jump back into?

I’m interested in continuing to learn how TikTok is influencing the music industry and how it’s specifically affecting Black creators. New information surfaces every day about both the positive and negative impacts of the app on creators’ rights, streaming and popularity. 

What is the one tab on your browser you always regret closing?

I always regret closing my music tab. I love discovering new music and diverse artists through Apple Music. It’s vital to my role as Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to stay up to date on all things music.

Who is an LGBTQ+ person with a very online presence that is a role model for you?

Janelle Monáe. Whether it is through social media, music, movies and now publishing, Janelle has always been an advocate and an inspiring figure for both Black and LGBTQ+ communities. I can’t wait to read The Memory Librarian which will explore race and queerness in a dystopian world.

What can you not stop talking about on the internet right now? 

I cannot stop talking about the Recording Academy’s recent initiatives to diversify our membership and advocate for inclusivity in the music industry. Earlier this year, we announced our partnership with GLAAD to advance LGBTQ+ representation in music. In May, we kicked off our HBCU Love Tour at Howard University, which aims to empower future music industry professionals and bolster Black representation. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a former HBCU student and professor, I’m proud to be on the forefront of these initiatives.

What was the first online community you engaged with?

The music community. I enjoy seeing how artists’ fandoms bring people together from around the world.

What articles and videos are in your Pocket waiting to be read/watched right now?

I have a few Global Spin videos saved that I need to catch up on. Global Spin is a GRAMMY.com performance series that spotlights international artists in the Afrobeats, K-Pop and Latin genres. I love how this series focuses on musical cultures from around the world.

If you could create your own corner of the internet what would it look like?

It is important that the music community is reflective of the diverse creators within it, so I’d love to create a corner of the internet that promotes intersectionality in music. Giving underrepresented voices a safe space to be heard is not only a personal mission but part of the Recording Academy’s mission as well.

Ryan Butler serves as Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for the Recording Academy® where he leads diversity, equity and inclusion internally and externally for the Recording Academy and its affiliates. He is responsible for enterprise-wide diversity and inclusion efforts and ensuring the Academy’s core value of diversity, equity and inclusion remains embedded throughout all aspects of the organization, including internal staff culture, Membership, Awards, Advocacy, and related programs. He also sets national and Chapter goals to accelerate outcomes for underrepresented communities and creators.

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