Allan Reid says CARAS is “very focused on equal representation” at JUNOs Gala
President & CEO of CARAS and The JUNO Awards, Allan Reid was the first speaker to take the stage at Vancouver’s Convention Centre yesterday for the 47th JUNO Awards Galas Dinner, presented by SOCAN. Previously with Universal Music Canada, Reid brought CARAS’ support for gender equality and equal representation to the front of the evening’s conversation – addressing criticism that has long followed the award show – and for good reason.
Criticized in length for an overall lack of diversity, the JUNOS has historically and methodically left out appreciation, acknowledgement, and representation of predominately Black music categories like hip-hop, R&B, dancehall, reggae and soul music.
With music critics across Canada becoming more vocal about the uneven playing field, artists breaking submission records with a 20% increase, and a sharp rise in streaming of hip-hop and R&B – the JUNO Awards (and CARAS) can no longer afford to be complacent in this conversation while they hold the power to push it forward.
Allan Reid dedicated the majority of his speech to naming a few of the initiatives that CARAS and the JUNO Awards have installed. While they fall short of the overall systematic changes that are still needed, his vocal recognition on behalf of CARAS is a step in the right direction from a somewhat silent response in recent years from the organization. Some of these actions include:
- The Hip-Hop category broadcasted at the JUNOs Award show.
- The addition of 4 new female members to the CARAS board of directors.
- A partnership with Apple Music – signifying an embrace of streaming services (and the genres that they support).
- An exclusive partnership with broadcast partner CBC which shares CARAS vision of “all artists, all genres of music, all the time.”
Apologetic for their previous mis-steps, Reid elaborated, “We’re all here tonight because of your music, so please don’t stop making it.”
He carried a similar message into the media Q&A room where outlets like CBC and the Associated Press fielded questions about whether this level of outreach has always occurred.
On CARAS increased efforts to reach out to communities, Reid explained:
“We’re very focused on it… If there’s a community out there that feels that they aren’t being represented properly, then I want to hear about it. If CARAS isn’t doing our job, or the advisory committee isn’t doing our job, or judges aren’t doing their job – then there needs to be change.”
Stream the 47th Annual JUNO Gala Dinner on JunoTV.
Written by Kira Hunston for HipHopCanada
Photography by Jamie Sands for HipHopCanada