The decision comes after the music industry participated in Blackout Tuesday in solidarity of the Black Lives Matter movement and Toronto R&B star the Weeknd‘s call out for the three major music labels to dig deep into their pockets to support.
On Blackout Tuesday, the Weeknd personally donated $500,000 towards organizations supporting Black Lives Matter movements.
“To my fellow respected industry partners and execs. No one profits off of black music more than the labels and streaming services. I gave yesterday and I urge you to go big and public with yours this week. It would mean the world to me and the community if you can join us on this,” he wrote June 2.
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Now, Warner Music Group is making an announcement of their donation and are forming an advisory panel with appointees from the label and the Blavatnik Family Foundation to decide how it will be spent. The panel is establishing procedures to identify and support the music community and organizations promoting equality, opportunity, diversity and inclusion. The panel is also determining the timing and amount of the financial contributions.
The Blavatnik Family Foundation is solely funded by billionaire Len Blavatnik who initially made his fortune through Russian oil. He’s been praised for several donations to universities in the U.K. and other institutions, but more notably, he made a $1 million donation to Donald Trump’s inauguration committee. He’s also donated more than $6 million to Republicans according to Federal Election Commission data. Further, he’s donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrats including relatively small amounts to senators Kamala Harris and Ron Wyden.
The announcement came just hours after the end of Blackout Tuesday. Warner Music Group also went public for a second time (the first being in 2005) with their stocks closing with a 20% increase by the end of today. The company reported nearly $4.5 billion in revenue last year.
“This fund will support the extraordinary, dedicated organizations that are on the front lines of the fight against racism and injustice, and that help those in need across the music industry. Our advisory panel, which will draw from a diverse cross-section of people from our team and the wider community, will help us be very thoughtful and accountable in how we make an impact. We’re determined to contribute, on a sustained long-term basis, to the effort to bring about real change,” Warner Music Group CEO Steve Cooper says.
If you’re wanting to donate and show support to the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the protesters, there are many ways you can do so.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund was previously looking for donations but asked for a pause on donations on June 2. They are directing people looking to help to Reclaim the Block’s list of organizations that could use support at this time. You can head here to see that list and show your support.
To show support through donations, connect with grassroots campaigns and obtain resources for allies, please refer to the links below.
Help the family of George Floyd here.
Fight for Breonna Taylor here.
Help the family of Ahmaud Arbery here.
To sign petitions for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and more, click here.
Donate to one or more community bail funds for protesters here.
Click here for more resources for protestors including pro-bono lawyers.
Visit Movement For Black Lives for additional ways you can help the cause.
Click here to connect with leaders building grassroots campaigns.
Here are some anti-racism resources for allies who want to learn more.
For other ways to donate, please head here.