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POWER UP Announces Participant List for Third Year of Programme

The POWER UP participant programme - co-founded by the PRS Foundation and Ben Wynter to elevate pioneering Black talent, whilst addressing anti-Black racism and racial disparities in the music sector - has announced the successful participants for its third year running.

Published: 17 July 2023 | 12:41 PM Updated: 20 July 2023 | 12:14 PM
Pair of hands on a computer keyboard and a piano keyboard.
“Despite initial pledges for change, we are witnessing the resurgence of injustices, lack of equity, and inequality as things revert to ‘normal.” Photo credit: Shutterstock

The 40 successful participants for the POWER UP programme were announced on the PRS Foundation website late last week, and the full list of Black music creators and music industry professionals is now available to read publicly.

Since 2021, 80 Black music creators and industry professionals have already been powering up with successes including promotions to senior roles, Board roles, Brit Award, Mercury Prize and MOBO nominations.

The MU remains one of the initiative's supporters, alongside: Creative Scotland, Believe, Simkins, Creative Wales, Arts Council of Wales, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, plus AIM, the BPI, the FAC, The Ivors Academy, the MMF, the MPA, MPG, PPL, PRS for Music, the PRS Members’ Fund and others.

Breaking through the glass ceiling and accelerating change

POWER UP has now received over 1,200 applications since it was launched, with applications from 848 Black music creators and 355 Black industry professionals at crucial career stages. The demand for a fairer and equitable music industry is now huge, and POWER UP is proving to be a vital initiative.

Over £12.8m of grant support has been requested through POWER UP alone across three annual deadlines – with the PRS Foundation and funding partners investing over £1.1m into participants’ projects alongside invaluable holistic support.

The programme, specifically designed to fit the needs of the participants, assists in the development of their careers and practice, to break through glass ceilings and accelerate change across the industry. This includes grant support of up to £15,000 alongside capacity building masterclasses, mentoring, coaching, mental health and wellbeing support, and access to added value support from POWER UP Partners and the peer network which is integral to breaking down barriers.

Urging leaders to move beyond symbolic gestures

Following the announcement, the award winning initiative is calling for more collaboration from the industry to power up Black talent. POWER UP Co-Founder Ben Wynter pressed the need for tangible change in the face of the programmes success:

“Three years after the black square movement, many promises and statements appear to have been forgotten. Despite initial pledges for change, we are witnessing the resurgence of injustices, lack of equity, and inequality as things revert to ‘normal.’

“POWER UP demonstrates that empowering Black talent to shatter the glass ceiling leads to success. As we enter our third year and our network grows to 120, it’s evident that this program remains a vital lifeline for powering up Black talent. We’ve worked behind the scenes to guide companies in correcting missteps and actively participated in IPO Government roundtable discussions on streaming, advocating for diverse voices to be included.

“POWER UP is driving tangible change, staying true to its original purpose. In these uncertain times, we urge industry leaders to move beyond symbolic gestures and take concrete action to support this initiative and honor the promises they made in 2020.“

Find out more about POWER UP on the PRS Foundation website.

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