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Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

The murder of George Floyd in 2020 sparked some important discussions within the music industry about racism, diversity, equity and inclusion.

One of the talking points was contracts: exploitative (in the bad sense of the word) deals signed by Black artists in the past. Now a new three-part documentary series from the production companies of Idris and Sabrina Elba is set to dig further into these issues.

‘Paid in Full: The Battle for Payback’ has been co-commissioned by the BBC in the UK and CBC in Canada.

“This is a story that touches all of us. It’s about the people who created the soundtracks of our lives in popular music and the pain of their exploitation,” said Idris Elba as the show was announced.

“It’s also about bringing the music industry to account for the injustice inflicted on generations of musical talents who have been deprived of their rightful rewards both financially and in terms of status and respect.”

A launch date for the series has not yet been announced. As an actor, Elba has starred in TV shows including The Wire and Luther, but he also has one foot in the music industry via his parallel career as a DJ.

‘Paid in Full: The Battle for Payback’ is a co-production partnership between his company Green Door Pictures, and wife Sabrina’s firm Pink Towel. Two other production companies, Zinc Media and Catalyst, are also involved.

“Far from being a straight music documentary, this series will explore the music industry within a racial context and reflect the history of exploitation within the industry,” said Zinc’s Tanya Shaw.

“It will also major in on conversations of structural racism and those who have worked so hard to expose them.”

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight