Recording Academy’s VP of DEI Ryan Butler tells us what brings him joy online

Here at Mozilla, we’re the first to admit that the Internet isn’t perfect, but we’re also quick to point out that the Internet is pretty magical. The internet opens doors and opportunities, allows 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 to people about the online spaces they can’t get enough of, that we need to save on Bag to read later and what sites and forums they formed.

With Pride celebrations taking place in June, this month we showcase LGBTQ+ leaders as part of our My corner of the internet series. In this next episode, Ryan Butler, Vice President Diversity, Equity & Inclusion of the Recording Academy, talks about his love for Janelle Monáe, how TikTok is impacting 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 GRAMMY’s TikTok (@GRAMMYS), because it has a lot of feel-good moments from our annual Awards shows. There’s nothing like watching the heartwarming reactions of the first GRAMMY winners. I still get emotional every time I watch Doja Cat’s acceptance speech from this year’s broadcast.

What’s a deep internet dive you can’t wait to dive back into?

I’m interested in continuing to learn how TikTok affects the music industry and how it specifically affects black creators. New information emerges every day about both the app’s positive and negative effects on creators’ rights, streaming and popularity.

What is the one tab in your browser that you always regret closing it?

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

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

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

What can you not stop talking about on the internet?

I can’t stop talking about the Recording Academy’s recent initiatives to diversify our membership and advocate for inclusiveness 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 strengthen Black’s representation. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a former HBCU student and professor, I am proud to be at the forefront of these initiatives.

What was the first online community you engaged with?

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

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

i have a few Global spin saved videos i need to catch up on. Global spin is a performance series by that spotlights international artists in the Afrobeats, K-Pop and Latin genres. I love how this series focuses on music cultures from all over the world.

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

It’s important that the music community reflects the diverse creators within the music community, so I’d like 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 also part of the Recording Academy’s mission.

Ryan Butler is Vice President Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for the Recording Academy®, where he leads internally and externally on diversity, equity and inclusion for the Recording Academy and its subsidiaries. He is responsible for enterprise-wide diversity and inclusion efforts and ensures that the Academy’s core value of diversity, equality and inclusion remains embedded in 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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