Black Lives In Music Initiative
[Photos via Cleveland Watkiss/https://www.clevelandwatkiss.co.uk, Shabaka Hutchings via Spotify]

On Monday, a new organization called Black Lives In Music (BLIM) officially launched in the U.K. This latest initiative aims to bring meaningful change to the music industry while supporting Black artists and professionals.

Along with advocating for equality in the industry, BLIM also provides opportunities for musicians at a grassroots level. Orphy Robinson, Shabaka Hutchings, Paulette Long, Cleveland Watkiss, Richard Henry and Yvette Griffith are among those on the BLIM taskforce. Jamil Sheriff, Xhosa Cole, Amanda Parker, Mykaell Riley, Ben Ryan, Victor Redwood-Sawyerr and James Joseph help round out the list.

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Last year, numerous individuals in the music industry joined the Black Lives Matter protests that emerged around the world. FEVER 333‘s Jason Aalon Butler, Halsey, YUNGBLUD, Paramore, Jimmy Eat World, Ice-T, Machine Gun Kelly and Frank Iero are just a few of the artists who stood in solidarity with BLM and the fight to end racism and police brutality.

Now, the continuous fight for equality has led to the launch of Black Lives In Music. The new initiative aims to amplify Black artists and eliminate racial discrimination in the music industry. Help Musicians UK trustee Charisse Beaumont and musician and teacher Roger Wilson co-founded BLIM.

Black Lives In Music’s 10-step digital charter urges music organizations to agree to fight systemic racism and reflect the diversity of the British population. This week, the organization also launched the BLIM Experience Survey. Through this survey, the issues Black musicians and professionals face in the industry each day will be researched closely. These areas include racial discrimination, mental health, well-being and economic disparity. The survey results will be published this May in the first annual BLIM report.

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Currently, Black Lives In Music is encouraging all Black musicians and professionals to take part in the Experience Survey which can be found here. In a tweet, the organization reiterates that everyone’s story can truly help make permanent changes in the industry.

“Black Lives in Music stands for equal opportunities. For Black people to be able to work successfully in the U.K. music industry without being the subject of discrimination. Your story can change the music industry. Tell your story.”

For Beaumont, BLIM is not just about Black musicians in the United Kingdom. Through this research, the organization aims to help end discrimination and injustice in the music industry worldwide.

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“We are bringing together all Black musicians and music professionals for this research in order to create change,” Beaumont said in a press release via Music Week. “Your participation will make this data, which currently doesn’t exist, the most powerful data set about Black musicians in the world. [It will be] used to drive positive and lasting change.”

BLIM plans to work with festivals, orchestras, operas, universities and other professional institutions to achieve these goals. As well, the Association Of British Orchestras, PRS Foundation, Black Music Coalition and Featured Artists’ Coalition are a few of the organizations partnering with Black Lives In Music.

James Ainscough, Help Musicians UK’s Chief Executive, says that the changes implemented by BLIM will create a more positive future for Black musicians.

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“The data that Black Lives In Music collects will provide the musician-focused insight to fuel the change we all want to see,” Ainscough said in a press release via Music Week. “Their collaborative yet determined advocacy will create a positive legacy for many generations of musicians. That is why all of us at Help Musicians are passionate about supporting the establishment of Black Lives In Music.”

Find out more about the Black Lives In Music initiative here.

More on Nova Twins and 2021 Grammys

Nova Twins are one of the artists who openly talk about racism and inequality in the music industry. Earlier this year, Nova Twins launched a new compilation that spotlighted alternative POC artists. Voices For The Unheard included artists such as Big JoanieUnityTXLoathe and Connie Constance among others.

Proceeds from the vinyl sales went to The Black Curriculum which works to address the lack of Black British history throughout the U.K. For Nova Twins’ Amy Love and Georgia South, the U.K. has a particular lack of representation for POC alternative artists. Although the music industry supports artists in R&B and hip-hop, rock and metal POC artists are largely left out.

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There’s a lack of representation and understanding of POC alternative artists, particularly in the U.K.,” Love told NME. “People are happy for Black people to be in R&B and hip-hop because they feel like it’s safe and that’s the done thing. These are genres that Black people have pioneered, but there’s a lack of education about how rock was also pioneered and helped to move forward by artists like Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The genre was carried by a lot of white men, but a lot of the POC artists got lost along the way.”

As well, the Black Lives Matter movement was ever-present at this year’s Grammy Awards. Lil Baby‘s performance of “The Bigger Picture” re-enacted not only police brutality but also the BLM protests that happened over the summer. The powerful performance also included activist Tamika Mallory and Killer Mike.

“So many people are looking for institutions like the Grammys to step to the plate,” Mallory says in a behind-the-scenes video. “To allow us to voice the real, true [and] deep feelings that so many communities are trying to process every day.”

A behind-the-scenes video of Lil Baby‘s Grammys appearance is below and his full performance is available here.

What are your reactions to the Black Lives In Music initiative? Let us know in the comments below.