A group of senior black music executives in Britain has urged the industry to adopt five “immediate calls to action” as part of the response to the death of George Floyd.
The executives from major companies including Warner, Sony, Universal, Live Nation and Spotify want the term “urban music” replaced with “black music”, among other demands issued on Tuesday. The organisation behind the Grammy awards on Wednesday announced a number of changes to its category names, including changing “urban contemporary” to “progressive R&B.”
In their letter addressed to industry leaders, the British executives also called for mandatory “unconscious bias” training for non-black staff, alongside other measures to help black employees’ career development.
The letter urged music business heads to create annual budgets to financially support black organisations, educational projects and charities. “The music industry has long profited from the rich and varied culture of black people for many generations,” the group said, adding it was also “a microcosm” for societies’ racial injustices.
“But overall, we feel it has failed to acknowledge the structural and systematic racism affecting the very same black community and so effectively, enjoying the rhythm and ignoring the blues.”
The collective — which also includes the Music Managers Forum as well as newly formed pressure groups The Black Music Coalition and The Show Must Be Paused UK — added “the time for change is now”.
“We cannot continue to benefit and profit, whilst continuing to ignore the issues of the community we benefit and profit so much from, issues which affect far too many of our artists in one way or another.”
The demands follow major music industry labels halting business for a day last week — under the banner “Black Out Tuesday” — in solidarity with anti-racist demonstrators demanding structural social change and an end to police brutality.
The move, promoted through the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused, came as mass protests in the United States over the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis have spread around the world.