Recording Academy To Honor Black Entertainment And Sports Lawyers Association At 23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Event

23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative® Event & Scholarship Presentation


Recording Academy To Honor Black Entertainment And Sports Lawyers Association At 23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Event

The virtual 2021 GRAMMY Week Event will also celebrate the winner of the national legal writing contest with a scholarship

GRAMMYs/Dec 18, 2020 - 07:00 pm

The Recording Academy has announced details for the 23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Event & Scholarship Presentation, which will take place Friday, March 12, at 11 a.m. PST during GRAMMY Week 2021 in a new virtual format, gathering the nation’s most prominent entertainment attorneys to promote discussion and debate about the most compelling legal issues facing the music industry today. The event will honor the Black Entertainment And Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) — a nationally recognized leader in legal education and professional development within the United States for lawyers and professionals in the entertainment, sports and related industrieswith the 2021 Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award. This honor is awarded to an attorney or organization that has demonstrated a commitment to advancing and supporting the music community through service. The winner of this year's Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Competition (to be announced in January) will also be recognized during the virtual event. Other program participants include Recording Academy Chair and interim President/CEO Harvey Mason jr., Recording Academy Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, Entertainment Law Initiative Executive Committee Chair Laurie Soriano, and Entertainment Law Initiative Program Chair Ken Abdo (Fox Rothschild LLP). Additional details will be announced in January.

The Recording Academy, in concert with some of the nation’s most prominent entertainment attorneys, established the Entertainment Law Initiative to promote discussion and debate about the most compelling legal issues facing the music industry today. The initiative also endeavors to support future careers in entertainment law by seeking out the nation’s top law students and giving them invaluable networking and educational opportunities.

One of the primary educational initiatives of the Entertainment Law Initiative is the national legal writing contest and scholarship program, which is co-sponsored by the American Bar Association. This year’s writing contest scholarships are sponsored by Fox Rothschild LLP. Law students from across the country have been invited to research, analyze and submit essays regarding important issues facing the music industry. The contest is open to juris doctor or master of laws candidates currently enrolled at any U.S. law school. A $10,000 scholarship will be awarded to the author of the winning paper, and a $2,500 scholarship will be awarded to the runners-up. The winning student and two runners-up will be recognized during the 23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Event & Scholarship Presentation to provide a forum for interaction with successful attorneys in the field. Earlier this month, of the Entertainment Law Initiative hosted an Info Session for students interested in submitting for this year’s Writing Competition to learn from previous student winners, in addition to gaining career advice from top entertainment lawyers. Watch it here

Read the complete Entertainment Law Initiative writing contest rules. For further questions, email

The Recording Academy will present the GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, March 14, 2021, on the CBS Television Network from 8:00–11:30 p.m. ET/5:00–8:30 p.m. PT with Emmy Award-winning "The Daily Show" host and comedian Trevor Noah serving as host. 

This year’s Platinum Presenting Partners are Fox Rothschild LLP and Universal Music Group and Platinum Partners are First Horizon/IBERIABANK, Greenberg Traurig LLP and Spotify. Sponsorship packages for the Entertainment Law Initiative Event are available. Please contact Neil Crilly at for information. This year’s event is invite only.

GRAMMY Week 2020: Entertainment Law Initiative Event Celebrates Change-Makers And Discusses Today's Most Pressing Issues


A GRAMMY Glam Dunk

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

By Will Dawson

For a few hours Tuesday night Hollywood Boulevard was transformed into Glam Central Station as The Recording Academy officially kicked off its 54th GRAMMY Week with the inaugural GRAMMY Glam event.

It was just what you'd expect it to be from the title — an incendiary collision between music and fashion, and beauty and the beats, complete with a GRAMMY gold carpet and enough DJ firepower to ignite a musical bonfire. Sponsored by Olay, CoverGirl and Venus, and featuring the incredible DJ Spinderella (of Salt-N-Pepa), DJ Low Down Loretta Brown (aka Erykah Badu), and dynamic duo the Jane Doze, Hollywood rocked on the dance floor while exploring the cosmetics-filled caverns of the MyHouse nightclub. 

"Each year, we try to reinvent ourselves," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow before heading inside. "What we've recognized for years is that there's an intersection between beauty, health, style, fashion, and music. I can't wait to see what our team — who are the best in the world, by the way — put together for tonight."

The Jane Doze opened the night on the ones and twos, with contest winners from also filling in some of the musical menu with their submissions, lending an interactive angle to the evening.

With three themed rooms that featured waterfalls, flames and even contortionists, partygoers had the chance to pose for personalized magazine covers, get tips from professional makeup artists and, while on the venue's main stage, even get a taste of what it's like to be a model on the catwalk.

"It's a marriage made in heaven," said recording artist Goapele. "Music and fashion go hand in hand. It's great that the GRAMMYs saw that and put this great night together."

Other guests echoed those sentiments, and many were excited for the chance to see Badu take her turn as one of the night's DJs.

"I'm from New Orleans and have seen [Badu] perform at Essence [Music Festival] over the years," beamed former Diddy Dirty Money member Dawn Richard. "She's a hero of mine. Everything she does is bold, from her fashion to her musical choices."

Badu's set was filled with blends of everything from GRAMMY-nominated hip-hop collective A Tribe Called Quest to R&B artist Cheryl Lynn. Spinderella spun the classics, giving the crowd an eclectic mix intermingling hits from R&B dance group Nu Shooz to the late Notorious B.I.G.

If all of the guests carrying their coats and heels in hand upon exiting are any indication, a great time was had by all. It was, by all accounts, a glam dunk, and a great way to kick off what promises to be an incredible week leading up to Music's Biggest Night.

Willie Nelson To Be Honored With 2019 Producers & Engineers Wing Award

Willie Nelson

Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images


Willie Nelson To Be Honored With 2019 Producers & Engineers Wing Award

The GRAMMY-winning country legend will be honored for his many years of "artistic achievements and creative genius" during GRAMMY Week in February 2019

GRAMMYs/Oct 30, 2018 - 05:31 pm

Willie Nelson may already have many accolades and achievements to his name, including eight GRAMMY Awards, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for more. On Oct. 30 the Recording Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing announced they will be honoring Nelson during GRAMMY Week 2019 to "celebrate [his] artistic achievements and creative genius."

The P&E Wing's 12th annual celebration will take place on Feb. 6, 2019 in Los Angeles, Calif. as part of GRAMMY Week, which culminates with Music's Biggest Night, the 61st GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 10. In addition to honoring Nelson, the event also acknowledges the industry contributions of the Wing's more than 6,400 professional members.

"Each year, the Recording Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing annual GRAMMY week event honors members of the recording community who exhibit exceptional standards of integrity, creativity and sonic quality," said Maureen Droney, Managing Director of the P&E Wing. "We are thrilled to pay homage to Willie Nelson, an undeniable icon with an incomparable—and uncompromising—body of work."

Nelson is a musical force to be reckoned with, a living legend who has released more than 200 albums over his six-decade career, a true leader in outlaw country music, and the larger genre as a whole. He has made an impact in the music industry as a songwriter, performer and collaborator, and in the larger world as an author, actor and activist. He has always used his platform to speak his mind and make a positive impact on those around him, such as with Farm Aid, an annual charity concert he co-founded in 1985 to support family farmers.

To date he has won eight GRAMMYs, taking home his first at the 18th GRAMMY Awards in 1975 for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his breakout hit "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain," from Red Headed Stranger. The album was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame in 2002, followed by several more of Nelson's recordings. Over the years he has been recognized by the Recording Academy on multiple other occasions, receiving the President's Merit Award in 1986, the GRAMMY Legend Award in 1990 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

"Willie Nelson has inspired generations of musicians and fans, and continues to set precedents of excellence within the music community," added Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow.

In 2018 the P&E Wing honored power couple Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz. Prior honorees include Jack WhiteRick RubinNile Rodgers and Neil Young.

2019 GRAMMY Awards To Air Feb. 10, 2019, From Los Angeles

Lineup Set For GRAMMY Classical Salute With Lang Lang

Soprano Isabel Leonard

Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)


Lineup Set For GRAMMY Classical Salute With Lang Lang

GRAMMY Salute To Classical Music on Jan. 26 to feature Kiana Ledé, Ledisi, Isabel Leonard, Pablo Sainz Villegas, Time For Three, and young pianists celebrating the legacy of Leonard Bernstein

GRAMMYs/Jan 24, 2018 - 03:11 am

Now that GRAMMY Week is here, performers have been announced for the Jan. 26 GRAMMY Salute To Classical Music, hosted by pianist Lang Lang at Carnegie Hall in New York. The rich line-up includes seasoned GRAMMY winners and nominees along with piano prodigies and a youth choir. Let's take a closer look.

The theme of this year's event is celebrating the legacy of legendary composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein. The Recording Academy, in conjunction with CAMI Music, prepared a program ready to take its place among the worldwide performances celebrating "Leonard Bernstein at 100."

To celebrate, the GRAMMY Salute To Classical Music has assembled a world-class collection of multigenre artists who will perform, including soprano Isabel Leonard, R&B star Ledisi, string trio Time For Three, Los Angeles-based R&B artist Kiana Ledé, and Spanish guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas. In addition, Lang Lang's Lang Lang International Music Foundation will be featured onstage as more than a dozen young prodigies share their musical insights into Bernstein's vision.

Concluding the program, a youth chorus from The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, founded by Tony Bennett, and members of the Harmony Program will perform the finale with Leonard for a multigenerational look to the past and the future.

Like classical music itself, Bernstein's legacy is alive. Friday night will be a chance to enjoy its flourishing.

Lang Lang To Celebrate Leonard Bernstein: GRAMMY Salute To Classical Music


Lively Legal Eagle Lunch

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

By Laurel Fishman

In the lobby outside the Beverly Hills Hotel's Crystal Ballroom, the schmooze fest built to a deafening roar as the movers, shakers and tastemakers of entertainment law — and those who aspire to be in this lofty league — convened before the 13th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon & Scholarship Presentation.

After repeated appeals to "Please take your seats," GRAMMY Foundation Vice President Scott Goldman resorted to a prolonged "shhhhhhh" to get the ultra-voluble crowd to give the proceedings their full attention. The roar turned to respectful silence in the ballroom as the law students representing this year's ELI Legal Writing Competition finalists poised themselves for their onstage appearance.

The students were fresh from an exclusive mentoring session with the ELI Executive Committee, where they had just received priceless anecdotal wisdom from the elder statesmen of the field. "I'm still pinching myself!" University of Southern California law student Jay Patel told me. Daniel Carollo, who's studying at St. John's University School of Law, described the experience as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Chapman University School of Law's Maral Vahdani said she loved getting the lowdown on the building of Madonna's career, adding how she appreciates that entertainment law covers "both sides of the spectrum, the more glamorous stuff and the legal side."

Finalist Brian Pearl, a student at University of California Los Angeles, anticipated taking the spotlight to talk about his paper, "hoping for a question I'm capable of answering intelligently!" When his turn came to discuss turning outside of copyright law to communication law in order to limit access to illegal file-sharing, presenter and ELI Executive Committee Program Chair Ken Abdo lauded Pearl's inventive "rock and roll attitude."

Contest winner William Jacobson, a student at the Charlotte School of Law, was awarded a $5,000 scholarship for his efforts. He spoke about his thought-provoking paper, which addressed computers generating content independent of human creativity. Jacobson said this necessitates further distinction beyond open-sourcing and crowd-sourcing to what he coined as "compu-sourcing." He raised issues of ownership concerning creation by programmers versus users, and the importance of distinguishing original works from those "fabricated by technology."

Predictably, humor pervaded the luncheon. ELI Executive Committee Chair Michael Reinert joked about having to travel 3,000 miles to the event to see his colleagues from just up the street. Attorney John T. Frankenheimer, winner of the 2011 Service Award, was acknowledged by his fellows for his ability to "capture the most complex of deals on one Post-It note!"

Recording Academy and GRAMMY Foundation President/CEO Neil Portnow warned, "If you think this is just another industry event, wait until you hear our keynote speaker." Portnow's words rang true when the Black Eyed Peas' took the stage. A GRAMMY Foundation Board member, the GRAMMY-winning musician/producer shot straight from the hip, saying he was "probably gonna piss people off," yet it was "with all due respect to the great minds in this room" that he insisted that technology now defines the what and the where of monetizing music in the "marriage between art and science."

When all was said and done, I expressed admiration for how Goldman had held the attention of the crowd of verbal giants throughout the program. Goldman's response succinctly summed up the bottom-line ethos of the afternoon, "You just gotta deal!"