skip to main content

MU Expresses Solidarity With Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Others Who are Experiencing Racism

British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason was the first Black musician to win BBC’s Young Musician award in 2016, and is currently facing racist abuse for speaking out about the ongoing inclusion of Rule Britannia in the BBC Proms.

Published: 25 January 2024 | 5:17 PM Updated: 29 January 2024 | 4:35 PM
Close up of Cello strings.
Any MU member who experiences racism at work should contact their regional office for advice and support. Image credit: Shutterstock.

The MU condemns racism in all its forms wherever it exists. No-one should be subjected to racist abuse for expressing their views about a piece of music that's suitability in a modern concert is debated every year that the Proms programme is announced.

We extend our solidarity to Sheku Kanneh-Mason and others experiencing racism at this time.

Silence from witnessing parties is complicity

The BBC has a duty of care towards Black and Global Majority musicians, and the MU calls on the BBC to condemn the racism faced by Black and Global Majority musicians speaking out about the ongoing inclusion of Rule Britannia.

Where someone experiences racism in a public forum or reports of racism are made public, silence from witnessing parties is complicity.

These musicians work across the music industry in various capacities and have the right to safe workplaces free from racism and discrimination.

Anti racism work can and must challenge traditions

The MU will be contacting the BBC directly to discuss the support musicians who experience racism are receiving, and what measures are in place to prevent racism at work.

Anti racism work can and must challenge traditions. We must listen to those who have lived experience of racism and marginalisation, and not invalidate their lived experience by dismissing or not addressing concerns.

Any MU member who experiences racism at work should contact their regional office for advice and support.

Representing and advocating on behalf of musicians experiencing racism

Our network for members who experience racism is a space where people with shared identities and backgrounds can connect, network and make positive change across the MU and the music industry.

Join our member network

The network ensures that the voices of members who experience racism are heard and that opportunities for activism and leadership are created.

Sign up if you are a musician from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to get your voice heard.

Sign up now

Representing and advocating on behalf of musicians experiencing racism

Continue reading

Young Black male musician, performing with microphone against a plain yellow background.

POWER UP Programme Back for Fourth Year as Applications Open for 2024

The multi award-winning POWER UP Movement has opened applications for Black music creators and industry professionals to join year four of its Participant Programme, which provides grants of up to £15,000 as well as mentoring, wellbeing and network support.

Published: 26 February 2024

Read more about POWER UP Programme Back for Fourth Year as Applications Open for 2024
Back of two women with their hands raised in a meeting.

MU Responds to Seat at the Table 2024 Report Findings

As 2024’s Seat at the Table report finds that the representation of women on UK music trade association boards has now risen to 52%, find out what the MU is doing to improve diversity in our own committees.

Published: 02 February 2024

Read more about MU Responds to Seat at the Table 2024 Report Findings
Silhouette of a rap artist on stage. He performs to the crowd against smoke and bright lights.

MU Supports Art Not Evidence Campaign

The campaign believes that art, and particularly rap music, should be protected as a fundamental form of freedom of expression, and should not be used to unfairly implicate individuals in criminal charges.

Published: 04 January 2024

Read more about MU Supports Art Not Evidence Campaign