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USC ANNENBERG LAUNCHES INCLUSION INITIATIVE

USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism has announced the launch of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, its latest effort to bring more diversity both onscreen and behind the camera—and to the music business as well via the Initiative's Music Coalition.

UMG will participate in the initiative, with UMPG chief Jody Gerson repping the company as one of the more than two dozen appointees to the newly formed Advisory Board, which also includes execs from Disney, NBC, Sony Pictures, HBO and WME.

“These are critical issues to address in our society and in our industry, and this is a crucial time to address them,” said Gerson. “While I’m proud of the progress we’re making within our company, there remains much work to do, and I’m honored to be appointed to join this impressive group to help tackle those challenges.”

In conjunction with the announcement from USC, Sir Lucian Grainge disseminated an internal memo informing staff of UMG’s commitment to the Initiative.

“All too often in our industry, leadership is defined by things like charts, market share and awards,” the UMG chieftain wrote. “In that regard, our leadership is on display daily. However, true leadership is more than that. It’s not only about being ahead. It's also about developing and implementing innovative ideas that rest on a foundation of strong core values. And then setting a path that others are compelled to follow if they want to succeed.

“The best way to foster an environment where new ideas are generated and innovation can flourish is to create a workplace that attracts and promotes and truly includes people from all kinds of backgrounds—one that matches and supports the incredible diversity of our artist roster.

“Today, I’m excited to share with you the news that UMG is partnering with USC Annenberg on the launch of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to create measurable change for representation of women and underrepresented racial/ethnic groups in the music industry, as well as other underserved communities across entertainment. As the first music company to join this important initiative, we are demonstrating our desire, as the industry leader, to accelerate efforts to promote diversity and inclusion within UMG and the broader music business. My hope is that, over time, more and more members of the music community will join with us in this vital effort.

“This partnership has been in the works for more than a year, so I’m very excited to see it finally come to fruition. And while I’m proud of the efforts we’ve made to date, I recognize that we have much more work to do and that we must continue to demonstrate leadership. To that end, I’ve asked Jody Gerson to represent us on the Board of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. Throughout her career, Jody has been an innovator, a pioneer, and a strong leader, so it’s only fitting that she represents our entire company in this endeavor.”

Said Prof. Stacey Smith (pictured), founder and Director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, “Our goal is not only to create more opportunities for today’s recording artists, songwriters and music business executives, but also to ensure a pathway for the next generation of women and underrepresented talent to enter into successful careers where they can make a difference. Our conversations with industry insiders indicate that while the music industry suffers from inclusion deficits, especially for women and underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, leaders such as Universal Music Group Chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge recognize the importance of issues of inclusion, and have demonstrated enthusiasm and readiness to tackle them. We’re thrilled that conversations with Sir Lucian that began over a year ago, have now yielded this exciting partnership.”

 

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