As a blind recording artist, Lachi Music was intimately familiar with the music industry’s minimal representation of artists with disabilities. But becoming active in the Recording Academy and joining the organization’s New York advocacy committee only further emphasized the urgent need for industry-wide change.
“I kept bumping into folks who said, ‘Wow, you’re the first person with a disability that I’ve ever met, other than Stevie Wonder,’” said Music, whose stage name is Lachi. “I decided that that wasn’t right—not just for folks with disabilities, but also for folks without disabilities, to not know about the vast, amazing creativity that's out there from folks with a different story.”
Those interactions prompted Music to establish RAMPD, a global network of artists and other music professionals with disabilities, in 2021. Since then, Music has worked to infuse disability culture and representation into the music and entertainment industries and forge connections between brands such as Netflix and Sony TV and RAMPD’s network of songwriters, composers, artists and other music professionals.
And over the past two years, Music has spearheaded the Recording Academy’s efforts to improve the accessibility of the Grammy Awards—both by introducing accommodations such as ASL interpreters and a ramp to get onstage, but also through boosting the representation of those with disabilities throughout the event.
“For a lot of history, disability has been looked at through the lens of a charitable model,” Music said. “Until we see ads or shows with disabled folks, or hear them on the radio—see them highlighted in different campaigns—we won't have that shift from charitable to cultural."