GLAAD partners with the Recording Academy, Out magazine, and The Ally Coalition for Grammy week LGBTQ + Voices in Music panel

GLAAD partnered with the Recording Academy, Out magazine, and The Ally Coalition for a first-ever of its kind star-packed Grammy week panel titled "Empowered: LGBTQ + Voices in Music."

The panel, which took place on the Wednesday before the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, included Linda Perry (the first ever woman nominated for a Grammy in the Producer of the Year Non-Classical category), singer VINCINT (FOX's The Four), producer/songwriter/performer Asiahn, breakout vocalist Shea Diamond, country music CMT breakthrough Brandon Stansell (Hometown), 16-year-old DJ Nhandi Craig (aka DJ Young 1), and ally Dan Reynolds (lead singer of Imagine Dragons and the founder of LOVELOUD).

The discussion was moderated by Recording Academy Editor In Chief of Digital Content & Strategy Justin Dwayne Joseph and Out magazine's Entertainment and Culture Editor Tre’vell Anderson.

LGBTQ Voices in Music Grammys Panel 1

Linda Perry kicked things off by discussing what it was like living authentically out of the closet in the '80s and '90s and her answers had the whole audience laughing. "I’ve always been gay," she explained. "It’s just who I was. I never ever let it be a problem. There are people like me who have never allowed people to look at me differently. I walked right through those barriers. ... when someone pushes you, they’re testing you. Just don’t let people push. You have to stay strong.” 

Grammys week LGBTQ Voices in Music panel 2

When asked about what it means to be an ally, Dan Reynolds spoke about how fully he understands how privileged his life has been and how he feels obligated to make the world a better place for others. "We need allies," he explained. "Check your reservations at the door. Be educated, but do not be indifferent.” 

Grammys week LGBTQ Voices in Music panel 3

DJ Nhandi, at only 16, brought a level of maturity to the conversation that blew everyone away, speaking about how even though many people in her generation see gender differently, she still sometimes experiences discrimination in school. "I have a lot of family members who are part of the LGBTQ community," she said. "It was the norm to be accepted. It was the norm to be different.” 

Grammys week LGBTQ + Voices in Music panel

And Shea Diamond spoke about the importance of inclusivity within the community and her experiences as a transgender Black woman in the music industry. As for the future, Diamond says it's in the hands of Nhandi's generation. "Nothing can ever get done focusing on older generations," she said. "I try to focus my energies on the new minds. The youth spread (the message) faster than anyone else."

VINCINT and Asiahn both spoke about how although they were each respectively pigeonholed at points in their careers, they chose to define themselves rather than allow the industry to define them. 

The audience consisted of high school music students from the LA Unified School District, along with Academy members and other invited guests, all of whom were greeted by a DJ set from Nhandi as they arrived.

DJ Young 1 DJ Nhandi Grammys Week event

Everyone in the crowd, talent and students alike, had a blast exploring the Grammy Museum's new exhibit honoring 2019 MusiCares Person of the Year, Dolly Parton, while laughing and taking photos on the red carpet. 

LGBTQ Voices in Music red carpet

Be sure to tune into the Grammys this Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on CBS and support all of this year's incredible lineup of LGBTQ nominees and allies