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Black Music Action Coalition calls for more industry change


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Developments following the recent #TheShowMustBePaused day of action continue, with two new coalitions / campaigns emerging in the US in recent days: the Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC) and Black Artists for Freedom.

The former includes artists, producers, songwriters, managers, lawyers and other industry figures “who are deeply concerned about systemic racism – not only in society at large, but within our own house – the music business” and determined to “address long standing racial inequities in the business, the financial impact of those inequities for both Black artists and executives, and ways we can work with you urgently to solve these problems”.

The ‘you’ in this instance are the major music companies and streaming platforms, to whom BMAC’s letter is addressed. The organisation wants to meet with each firm’s CEO, senior management and foundation boards to discuss the path forward, including reviews to examine “inequities in the treatment of Black artists, the recruitment, advancement and salary parity of Black executives, and a general analysis of how your company will make things right by Black artists, executives and the greater community”.

There’s a long list of signees: Anderson .Paak, Billie Eilish, Cardi B, Justin Bieber, Khalid, Lady Gaga, Lil Nas X, Marshmello, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, Nicki Minaj, Pharrell Williams, Shawn Mendes, Snoop Dogg, Travis Scott and more on the artists side, plus a range of companies and organisations up to and including the RIAA.

The other group, Black Artists for Freedom, draws from across the creative industries – the artists here aren’t just in the musician sense – and is training its focus on a range of cultural institutions. Blackness is not a minor culture. It is foundational to America. It is deep and rich and internally diverse. No more stereotypes. No more tokenism. No more superficial diversity. No longer will we watch Black culture be contorted into a vehicle for self-congratulation, complacency, guilt relief, experiential tourism, fetishism, appropriation, and theft,” explains its open letter.

Stuart Dredge

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