Calling on the music industry to “put a plan for change in place … within the next 30 days,” more than 30 preeminent artist managers, attorneys, business managers, agents and other industry professionals have united as the Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC). The advocacy organization, working in alliance with #TheShowMustBePaused, pledges to not only advance racial justice in the music industry but also in society at large in keeping with the mission of Black Lives Matter.
“We are encouraged by recent efforts by Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music, Apple, YouTube, BMG and other industry participants,” the BMAC states in its open letter to the music industry. “However, we know that more needs to be done and we must do it together.”
Outlining its top priorities moving forward, the BMAC wants to meet with each company’s CEO, senior management and heads of their newly formed task forces to “mutually develop a plan to address the deeply rooted systemic racism in our industry” involving Black artists and executives. In addition, BMAC wants to have a voice in determining how funds supporting Black community organizations focusing on education, social justice, financial literacy, mental health and other initiatives are allocated and distributed “because so few companies in the music industry are run by Black people. It is essential that the funds are used to benefit the Black community that the music industry has relied upon for so much of its success.”
BMAC is guided by an advisory board that includes industry pioneers Clarence Avant and Quincy Jones along with Azoff Company chairman/CEO Irving Azoff and entertainment attorney Ron Sweeney.
“Many have come together in the past to address rampant racism in our business and society,” states Avant in a release announcing the coalition’s launch. “Never before, though, have I seen a moment when a cross-generational group of powerful Black artists, songwriters, producers, managers, agents and lawyers have come together in this way, working as one, with a common, unified voice to root out racism. There is power in that union, promise in their vision and hope that we can move meaningfully toward a more equal and just business and country. I’m inspired and glad to be part of it.”
Leading the nonprofit trade organization are founding executive committee members Ashaunna Ayars (founder, Ayars Agency), Binta Brown (music executive/artist manager), Jamil Davis (CEO, The Revels Group), Shawn Holiday (co-head of urban, Columbia Records), Prophet (artist manager/activist), Damien Smith (artist manager, Full Stop Management), Courtney Stewart (CEO, Right Hand Music Group), David Stromberg (general manager, Cactus Jack), Tunde Balogun (co-founder/CEO LVRN) and Caron Veazey (music executive/artist manager).
Additional BMAC founding members include Dre London (founder, London Entertainment), Cortez Bryant (partner, The Blueprint Group), Damien Granderson (Granderson DesRoches LLP) and Anthony Saleh (founder, Emagen Entertainment), among others. The organization’s partners include Jeffrey Azoff (partner, Full Stop Management), Doug Davis (The Davis Firm), Jennifer Justice (founder, The Justice Dept.), Andrew Gertler (founder, AG Artists LLC), Dina LaPolt (founder, LaPolt Law), Danny Rukasin (co-founder, Best Friends Music), Ty Stiklorius (CEO, Friends at Work), attorney Justin Sweeney and Lou Taylor (CEO, Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group).
A diverse slate of artists — many of whom are represented by BMAC’s founding members — has also endorsed the coalition’s open letter and its initiatives, among them Cardi B, Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, Lil Nas X, Khalid, Diplo, Rosalia, Travis Scott, Post Malone, Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige and Sean “Diddy” Combs.
“The industry that has profited the most off of Black culture must lead by example,” BMAC’s open letter declares in closing. “BMAC intends to hold you accountable and will keep track of the music industry’s efforts to clean up its own house.”
Read BMAC’s full letter along with a list of board members, partners and signees here: A Letter From BMAC