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NEWLY FORMED BMAC CHALLENGES BIZ TO END RACISM

Music-industry leaders including Clarence Avant, Quincy Jones, Ron Sweeney and Irving Azoff have joined forces with scores of artists from Pharrell to Lady Gaga to launch the Black Music Action Coalition. In its first move, the nonprofit advocacy group sent an open letter to the industry expressing its deep concerns about systemic racism in the music business and calling for a plan to eradicate this longstanding problem.

“We must work together to put a plan for change in place with you within the next 30 days,” the missive concludes. “BMAC intends to hold you accountable, and will keep track of the music industry’s efforts to clean up its own house.”

BMAC founding executive committee members include Ashaunna Ayars, Cortez Bryant, Binta Brown, Jamil Davis, Shawn Holiday, Dre London, Merck Mercuriadis, Prophet, Anthony Saleh, Damien Smith, Courtney Stewart and Caron Veazey.

Jeffrey Azoff, Tunde Balogun, Doug Davis, Andrew Gertler, Dina LaPolt, Gee Roberson, Danny Rukasin, Moe Shalizi, Ty Stiklorius and David Stromberg are among the org’s partners.

The names of all the signees can be found following the letter at https://www.bmacoalition.org/.

Below is the full text of the letter.

The letter and the names of its signees can be accessed here.

BMAC founding executive committee members include Ashaunna Ayars, Cortez Bryant, Binta Brown, Jamil Davis, Shawn Holiday, Dre London, Merck Mercuriadis, Prophet, Anthony Saleh, Damien Smith, Courtney Stewart and Caron Veazey.

Jeffrey Azoff, Tunde Balogun, Doug Davis, Andrew Gertler, Dina LaPolt, Gee Roberson, Danny Rukasin, Moe Shalizi, Ty Stiklorius and David Stromberg are among the org’s partners.

https://www.bmacoalition.org/

To Our Music Industry Partners & Chief Executives:

We are the Black Music Action Coalition, which was formed through inspiration by, and in alliance with #TheShowMustBePaused, along with our grief and outrage over the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and Rayshard Brooks. Our Coalition consists of artists, producers, songwriters, managers, business managers, attorneys and other passionate industry professionals who are deeply concerned about systemic racism—not only in society at large, but within our own house—the music business.

We created BMAC 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. Additionally, BMAC will support groups and programs committed to progressing the equality of Black lives around the country.

We are encouraged by recent efforts by Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music, Apple, YouTube, BMG and other industry participants. However, we know that more needs to be done and we must do it together.

Our highest priority at this moment is to meet with each company’s CEO, senior management and your newly formed foundation boards to mutually develop a plan to address the deeply rooted systemic racism in our industry. This plan must include a review that specifically examines: 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.

In addition, we would like to meet with you to ensure that we have a voice in determining how funds designated by your company to fight racism are allocated. Having a voice in the earmarking and distribution of the funds is essential because so few companies in the music industry are run by Black people. It is essential that the funds are used to benefit the Black community that the music industry has relied upon for so much of its success—a community that has been battered by generations of systemic racism, the Covid-19 pandemic and recent violence and destruction emerging in reaction to continued police brutality in the United States. It is essential that the funds are used to ensure that the music industry is focused on eradicating racial inequality in each company that sees profits as a result of Black culture.

Listen to us: the Artists, Managers, Executives and community who have generated so much of the music industry’s wealth, power and cultural capital. Listen to and work with us not only because of the enormity of wealth we have created, or the importance of our contributions to the continued health of the music business, but because each of us is vulnerable to the structural racism that resulted in the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and Rayshard Brooks. The industry that has profited the most off of Black culture must lead by example.

We must work together to put a plan for change in place with you within the next 30 days. BMAC intends to hold you accountable, and will keep track of the music industry’s efforts to clean up its own house. There is a lot of work for us to do, and we look forward to doing it together.

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