Last year, the Recording Academy and social justice nonprofit Color of Change announced their joint initiative, #ChangeMusic, to bring equity to Black creators and professionals in the music industry.
This week, Color of Change continues that work by partnering with Diverse Representation — a database of Black agents, attorneys, managers, and publicists in the sports and entertainment industries — to launch the Black Music Executives Pipeline Program.
According to Forbes, this new program is the first to be released from #ChangeMusic and will rely on the expertise of both the non-profit organization and diversity database to help increase the number of active Black executives in the music industry.
Additionally, the program will also be responsible for creating an effective tool that will “allow record labels, publishers, video production companies, streaming services and touring companies to quickly identify and hire Black professionals,” Billboard reports.
While #ChangeMusic was designed as a guide to help move the music industry beyond racial equity conversations, the Black Music Executives Pipeline Program will directly address the years-long concerns of more representation needed amongst a group of industry leaders that has historically lacked diversity.
Forbes reports that while nearly 50 percent of successful artists in the music industry are Black, less than 10 percent of executives at the vice presidential level or higher are Black — a daring statistic that Color of Change and Diverse Representation plan to offset.
“As leaders in the music industry, it is up to us to usher in a new age in vision and set a new tone for our community and peers,” Ryan Butler — Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Director of the Recording Academy — said in a press release. “The Pipeline Program stands not only as an illustration of our ongoing commitment to prioritize and promote diversity and inclusion efforts through the #ChangeMusic initiative, but also as a concrete way to honor the countless Black professionals and artists whose contributions have helped build our industry.”
The Black Music Executives Pipeline Program will be selecting 12 individuals as participants for a three-month training program, in which they will receive tools and resources needed to help build a successful career as an executive in the industry, Forbes reports. The training will include a speaker series, one-on-one mentorship, executive training, and executive shadowing.
The Black Music Executives Pipeline Program will serve as the third program of its kind launched by Diverse Representation, which has also successfully led similar initiatives to increase the number of Black executives within the sports and entertainment industries.
“We are excited to be partnering with #ChangeMusic for this much-needed initiative,” Jaia Thomas — Founder and President of Diverse Representation — said in a press release. “Although Black creatives have long-served as the tastemakers of the music industry, they’ve continually been shut out and passed over for leadership positions. It is time for us to wield greater influence over the decisions that affect Black artists, their work and their livelihoods. And we’re ready to take the first step to ensure that this goal becomes a lasting reality.”
Applications for the pipeline program will open on July 5 to any Black professionals with two or more years of industry experience.
Training for the program is set to occur between September and November.