*Following last summer’s protests, fueled by the deaths of George Floyd and other African Americans killed at the hands of police across America, an in-depth look was launched to see how Black artists and Black employees across the music industry were being treated.
Was there fairness across the board in how equitably money flows in the “billions of dollars” music industry?
To address such questions – and many others – the Black Music Action Coalition was formed. The Coalition is comprised of managers, lawyers, and other stakeholders, tasked with the mission to hold the mammoth music industry accountable for its fairness.
To show transparency, major record labels, streaming services, and broadcasters pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in donations. Also, task forces were convened to look at multiple levels of the music industry, which made promises to the diversity of their ranks and correct any inequities found.
Major recording artists, including The Weeknd, BTS, Erykah Badu, and Kelis, donated money to support social justice and economic reforms in the music industry. While it appears changes have been made since last summer, the proof will be learned in June of 2021, when a comprehensive “report card” is issued. The report card will show if music entities have made good on their promises and commitments to equality and equity to Black artists and other African Americans employed in the music industry.
“Our fight is much bigger than just whether or not you wrote a check,” said Prophet, an artist manager who works with Asian Doll, Layton Greene, and other acts. “But the fact that you said you were going to write a check, we want to make sure that money was actually given and that it went to a place that actually hit the veins of the Black community.”
The Coalition knows thousands of Black artists may not have been paid properly over the years for their recordings and performances for record companies and associative music entities.
The group understands there is a litany of other improprieties related to Black artists and Black employees in the music industry that have never been successfully dealt with.
At some point, there may be investigations into such actions. However, the Black Music Action Coalition, for now, is limiting its scope. According to Prophet, the Coalition, only wants to know, for now, whether promises have been kept.
“Racism is a 400-year-old problem,” Prophet said. “We didn’t think it would be solved in 12 months.”