Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish and Harry Styles among artists to form Black Music Action Coalition

'Our aim is to harness the power of music and activate our community to effectuate real, positive systemic change'

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Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, and Harry Styles joined a number of other music industry executives on Monday (22 June) to form nonprofit organisation Black Music Action Coalition.

The group is working together with #TheShowMustBePaused to dismantle systemic racism within the music industry.

In an open letter sent to various top industry players, the coalition said it would work with companies such as Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music, Apple, YouTube, and BMG to combat any racial discrimination within their organisation.

“Our highest priority at this moment is to meet with each company’s CEO, senior management and your newly formed foundation boards to mutually develop a plan to address the deeply rooted systemic racism in our industry,” the coalition said.

The letter also promised that the coalition will examine “inequities in the treatment of black artists, the recruitment, advancement and salary parity of black executives, and a general analysis of how your company will make things right by black artists, executives and the greater community". The coalition also aims to give the black community a say in how funds are distributed.

So far, 160 artists have signed onto the coalition’s goals. Those pledging their support include Cardi B, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Pharrell, Post Malone, Snoop Dogg, and Travis Scott.

Other leaders of BMAC include Tunde Balogun of Interscope Records who has helped launch the careers of Summer Walker and 6LACK; co-founder of Right Hand and Keep Cool Records Courtney Stewart who has worked closely with Khalid and Normani; and Pharrell manager Caron Veazy.

Quincy Jones sits on the advisory board along with the “Godfather of black music” Clarence Avant, longtime manager Irving Azoff (who has worked with the Eagles and Nicki Minaj) and attorney Ron Sweeney.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, BMAC founding member Binta Brown, who oversees much of Chance the Rapper’s music-related strategies, said: “The music industry, unfortunately, has not been immune to the systemic racism that plagues our country.”

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Brown continued: “Fixing our society requires addressing the issues in music, media and entertainment, and it requires all of us working together. Our aim is to harness the power of music and activate our community to effectuate real, positive systemic change not only within the music business, but for our artists, black communities, and society as a whole.”

“We must work together on this,” says Brown. “Systemic problems require systemic solutions, and that means each of us must be active in working together to create a just, fair and equitable society for all.”

After joining BMAC, music attorney and BMAC partner Dina LaPolt, who’s known for her work defending the rights of Tupac, and 21 Savage, said: “I’ve always been an advocate for antiracist initiatives and am honored to be a part of the Black Music Action Coalition. It’s an inspiring, much-needed, long-overdue, and positive change in the music industry.”

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