BET’s Debra Lee to Be Honored By the Grammys

After leading one of the most important networks for African-American viewers for two decades, BET Chairman and CEO Debra Lee will be honored by the Recording Academy with the GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons Award in February.

“For this year’s GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons Award, The Recording Academy is proud to honor the extraordinary Debra L. Lee, a groundbreaking figure whose innovative vision, commitment to entertainment, and philanthropic work have had a profound impact on the industry as well as our broader culture,” Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy, said in a press release. “Debra has elevated BET to the remarkable platform it is today, and we look forward to celebrating our first, and definitely not the last, female honoree as our industry continues to recognize the significant contributions of female leaders.”

Lee has served as BET’s CEO since 1996, transforming the network from being focused solely on music videos to a destination for both scripted and unscripted content, events, and films.

Lee called the recognition a “tremendous honor.”

“It is such a tremendous honor to receive this year’s GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons Award. Music is a part of BET’s DNA and it’s always been my goal to touch people by educating, inspiring, providing opportunity, and affecting real change through the powerful medium of entertainment,”Lee said. “I am proud and thrilled to be the first woman to join this dynamic group of industry trailblazers.”

The business executive will be honored at the ultra exclusive Pre-GRAMMY Gala hosted by Clive Davis, who commended Lee on her achievements.

“I am thrilled that The Recording Academy is presenting BET Networks Chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee with this year’s GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons Award,” Davis said. “Debra’s many years of wonderful work and dedication to the network, as well as raising the profile of businesswomen in the African-American community, has been remarkable and she truly deserves this great honor.”

For the past 10 years, the GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons Award has honored some of the greats, including Berry Gordy, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Irving Azoff,  Sir Richard Branson, Clive Davis, and David Geffen.