Just earlier this week, a call of solidarity from two women of colour from Atlantic Records led to a massive social media movement.
#BlackOutTuesday stemmed from the original initiative #TheShowMustBePaused created by music executives Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas, Senior Director of Marketing at Atlantic Records.
The music industry took a pause on Tuesday as a day to reflect and educate themselves where needed, regarding the crass racial and social injustices rampant across the United States. But that wasn’t enough. Two of the biggest Music companies out there, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group each pledged large sums of money and outlined their efforts to fight against racial and social injustices.
In their efforts, Warner Music Group partners with the Blavatnik Family Foundation and announced a $100 million fund to support charitable causes related to the music industry, social justice, and campaigns against violence and racism.
An advisory panel formed between the two will establish procedures to identify and support those in the music community, and organizations strengthening education and promoting equality, opportunity, diversity, and inclusion. Speaking about the efforts, Steve Cooper, CEO, Warner Music Group said, “This fund will support the extraordinary, dedicated organizations that are on the front lines of the fight against racism and injustice, and that help those in need across the music industry. Our advisory panel, which will draw from a diverse cross-section of people from our team and the wider community, will help us be very thoughtful and accountable in how we make an impact. We’re determined to contribute, on a sustained long-term basis, to the effort to bring about real change.”
Universal Music Group’s – which includes Republic, Capitol, Interscope, Def Jam, and many other labels – chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge announced that part of the companies efforts will also be shown by convening a social justice task force in the wake of nationwide protests. Chief Counsel Jeff Harleston has been appointed to lead the task force where the executive-comprised group will ensure actionable moves companywide.
Universal Music Group also established a $25 million fund that they’re calling the “Change Fund.” That pledged amount will be invested across six areas of focus, including aid/charitable giving, global, internal/institutional change, legislative/public policy, partners, and programming/curation.
In a memo that went out to all the employees, Grainge said, “Everything—raising our voices in Congress, providing additional employee education and assistance, enhancing our philanthropy, using the power of our astonishingly vast catalogue to effect change—everything will be on the table. The systemic nature of the problems is just too critical to leave anything off.”
He ended the memo on a heartfelt note saying, “Music has always been a driving force for inspiring social change. The voices of our artists and the songs of our songwriters have changed the world. And they will continue to do just that. We will amplify those voices. We will address these issues. Together.”