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Home > Power Up Team’s response to the UK Government’s report into racial and ethnic disparities

POWER UP – Race Report Response Statement

Team POWER UP have been in a state of disbelief since the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities published their report into racial and ethnic disparities in the UK earlier this week.

The report itself – which was commissioned by UK Government – and the headline findings that have been widely covered across various media platforms sets a dangerous tone.


Racism is real.


The commission ignores the lived experiences and suffering of the oppressed and underrepresented. The very public denial of institutional racism is an affront to Black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities in the UK who continue to face systemic and structural racism and barriers alongside everyday racism, micro-aggression, bias and injustice.

While some of the nuances contained within the full report make for interesting reading, and recommendations including the disaggregation of the label “BAME” are welcome (if not a little late to the conversation!), the POWER UP team strongly rejects many of the main suggestions from the Commission.


POWER UP was launched to fight anti-Black racism across the music sectors, with a Programme and Movement that’s all about meaningful change and collaboration across the industry, working in all genres and all parts of the UK and in collaboration with many likeminded partners.

Shaped by the experiences and the expertise of hundreds of Black music professionals, we include within our ‘background’ page links to further evidence of need – outlining the structural and systemic racism in music and in UK society, and highlighting the need to go beyond solidarity to bring about change.


Those with lived experience of institutional racism hardly need data, stats and interpretations to know where the land lies. Indeed, most in the wider music community without lived experiences also see these injustices.

It is vital we acknowledge huge problems in UK society and across the music industry. And accountability, commitment and action is vital. To that end, we thought we would highlight and link to some great proactive organisations, useful reading and a plea to push against this dangerous narrative.



POWER UP Partners, the Association of Independent Music (AIM) are mobilising the music industry to sign this open letter. Please join POWER UP, Keychange and PRS Foundation in lending your name and your voice to this open letter asap (click the link, add your name).





  • The Runnymede Trust

Runnymede is the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank. For years, Runnymede have been a leading force in research, generating intelligence, building networks, and engaging and lobbying politically. Many reports shed light on the very real experiences of ethnic minority people in the UK.


The Runnymede response to the Sewell Report is particularly outstanding and this link includes a rejection of the main findings and a must-see video panel response:


  • The Lammy Review



  • The Black Music Coalition

The Black Music Coalition (‘BMC’) is dedicated to eradicating racial injustice and establishing equality for Black executives, artists and their communities within the music industry. (See Power Up Movement for more information on the BMC and our Power Up Movement alliance)


  • UK Music Diversity Taskforce Workforce Diversity Report 2020

The UK Music Diversity Taskforce was established in 2015 and works with the music business, Government and other stakeholders to boost inclusion and diversity across the industry. It includes representatives from the core industry sectors: major and indie record labels, music publishers, trade organisations, collection societies and the UK live music industry. The Taskforce publishes a biennial UK Music Diversity Report.


  • Black Lives in Music

Black Lives in Music are at the vanguard of the effort to combat racism, uniting organisations and musicians to create a truly inclusive and diverse music industry. Black Lives in Music use data and insights to campaign for equity and they support the empowerment of Black musicians to realise their aspirations. Please complete their live survey and look at their Charter.


  • Many more music organisations, initiatives, programmes and campaigns have been working tirelessly – many for decades – to support underrepresented talent, bring about meaningful change and fight injustice. We stand in awe of the likes of MOBO, Small Green Shoots, Saffron Records, Jazz re:freshed, UD, Tomorrow’s Warriors, Girls I Rate and many more, as well as incredible individuals such as Kevin Osborne and collectives including BAFA, and the efforts of other POWER UP partners, Focus Group member and our Executive Steering Committee members.


  • Finally, the POWER UP evidence of need page collates relevant music industry data and information which outlines the issues specifically facing the Black music community and some wider issues facing ethnic minority groups in the UK.


We hope you can afford the time to check out some of these links and sign the AIM Open Letter. And we urge everyone across the industry to speak out, stay on track and do more to create a stronger, connected and fairer music sector.