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MU and Black Lives in Music Launch 3-Year Partnership

The 3-year partnership will see BLiM and The MU work together to challenge racism, promote inclusive practices and accelerate change regarding diversity in the music industry.

Published: 16 June 2022 | 12:23 PM Updated: 16 June 2022 | 2:07 PM
Close up of clarinet over a keyboard with sheet music.
Black Lives in Music addresses the current inequality of opportunity for Black people aspiring to be artists or professionals in the Jazz and Classical music industry. Image credit: Shutterstock.

Black Lives in Music (BLiM)’s report ‘Being Black in the UK Music Industry’, published last year, is to date the largest survey of Black musicians and music industry professionals conducted in the UK.

The report documented clear evidence of the issues and barriers that Black musicians face and highlighted how racism is preventing Black musicians from reaching their full potential and severely impacting their mental health.

In May, we reported how a motion responding to the ‘Being Black in the UK Music Industry’ report was passed at the TUC Black Workers conference.

The MU is thrilled to be partnering with BLiM to achieve change at a faster pace

Naomi Pohl, MU General Secretary, said:

“Supporting the industry on its journey to become a more diverse and inclusive place to work is a priority for the MU. Working with BLiM will help us realise that ambition.

“BLiM’s ground-breaking research shone a light on the areas where Black musicians and specifically Black female musicians encounter barriers and experience discrimination. We are really excited to work with BLiM on changing that experience and shaping the future of the industry.”

John Shortell, MU Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, said:

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with BLiM to achieve change at a faster pace. As an industry, tackling racism must be a priority and it’s crucial this work is informed by the lived experience of musicians who experience racism.

“This partnership will help the MU to become a more inclusive trade union and support the music industry in its work to create diverse and inclusive workplaces for all of our members.”

BLiM: Collaborations and partnerships are crucial

Charisse Beaumont, CEO, BLiM, said:

“Working in partnership with the MU will make certain best practice is implemented for the benefit of all musicians in the UK music industry.

“The goal of this collaboration is to empower Black music creators, ensure quality music education is available at grass roots, combat racism, remove systemic barriers and create career opportunities for Black musicians resulting in a level playing field across our music ecosystem. We are grateful for the MU’s willingness to work together to deliver tangible change.

Roger Wilson, Director of Operations, BLiM, said:

“Relationships are at the heart of social change. Collaborations and partnerships are crucial to moving the dial in the interests of a representative music community.

“The MU is doing fantastic work to stimulate important conversations and help level the playing field of opportunity. We’re really looking forward to working alongside the Union in the interests of promoting inclusive practice and championing diverse talent in all areas and at all levels of the UK music ecosystem.”

About BLiM

Black Lives in Music addresses the current inequality of opportunity for Black people aspiring to be artists or professionals in the Jazz and Classical music industry. Black Lives in Music believes in real equality for Black people to learn musical instruments at grassroots level and to allow them to pursue and realise their musical ambitions.

BLiM is made up of a number of partners who are all working towards the same goal: to dismantle structural racism in the industry. It aims to support the music industry in providing better professional opportunities and seeks to achieve equality for Black professionals at all levels and in all areas of the UK Jazz and Classical industry.

Stand up to racial inequality in music by becoming a member of the MU

Becoming an MU member means that you are making an impact on issues such as the diversification of curriculum and syllabi, reporting on the Ethnicity Pay Gap, and the fair and equal representation of all musicians.

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