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Home > POWER UP Movement

The POWER UP Movement is a force for change that harnesses the experiences of individuals in the music industry to inform powerful, meaningful and wide-reaching action.

In alliance with the Black Music Coalition, the POWER UP Movement fights for a fairer, more equitable music industry for Black creators and industry professionals. We will take action to empower underrepresented talent and will collaborate to ensure that organisations, companies and individuals go further to increase in the number of Black creators and professionals forging successful, long-term careers on their own terms.

The POWER UP Movement will:

  • Break down barriers
  • Set targets and apply industry pressure to increase Black representation
  • Accelerate change
  • Empower and advocate for Black talent and executives/industry professionals
  • Influence policy from the top down
  • Shape the future of the music industry
  • Capacity building and mentoring

Influenced by early conversations, deep and ongoing reflection and a sense that much more needs to be done to bring about lasting and meaningful change, our POWER UP Movement’s aims have been shaped by our seven Focus Groups, have been inspired by the success of the global Keychange Movement (co-founded by PRS Foundation), and will continue to be shaped strategically by our POWER UP Executive Steering Committee.

Breaking down barriers

Having identified various and complex barriers which the POWER UP Participant Programme will address for selected creators and industry professionals, the POWER UP Movement will set about tackling them long-term across the music ecosystem. Barriers for Black music creators and industry professionals in 2021 include:

  • Structural and systemic racism and injustice
  • Everyday prejudice in the workplace
  • Marginalisation and underrepresentation
  • Economic inequality
  • Inequitable financial benefit

These barriers are holding back Black music creators and industry professionals but also stunt the growth and development of a stronger, connected and fairer music industry.

Setting targets and applying industry pressure to increase Black representation

We know that Black talent is underrepresented on stage, on screen, in studios and behind the scenes in the industry.

Only 7% of the UK music industry workforce identifies and Black and there is a significant drop in representation as the workforce ages or at higher career levels. This has a knock-on impact on the experiences of Black music creators too who also face several barriers to progression.

*please note that this figure from the 2022 UK Music Workforce Diversity Report has decreased from 7.8% in 2020

Everyone benefits economically, socially and culturally if opportunities are distributed fairly and through the POWER UP Movement and in close collaboration with others in the sector, we will be setting targets and asking companies, organisations and individuals in the music sector to make themselves accountable.

Accelerating change and shaping the future of music

We will do this through our POWER UP Participant Programme (which in supporting 20 Black music creators and 20 Black industry professionals each year creates the change we want to see and becomes a hugely influential network long-term) and through the POWER UP Movement.

We will apply a collective approach to push for better representation on both sides of the industry. Once the POWER UP Movement is fully established, appropriate targets may be set and we will support companies, organisations and individuals to pledge to go further and to shape a more inclusive UK music industry.

Empowering and advocating for Black talent and executives/industry professionals

Through all strands of the POWER UP programme, we aim to:

  • Build confidence through a supportive network of creative leaders
  • Empower voices in safe spaces
  • Promote role models
  • Diversify career options
  • Encourage collaboration and change
  • Build resilience through industry connections and mentoring

Through our annual participant programme, 20 Black music creators and 20 Black industry professionals will be empowered each year and the wider knock-on impact of our work will be felt longer-term across all genres, career levels, regions and nations and sub-sectors.

As the POWER UP Movement grows and the participant programmes progresses, we will be using our platform to advocate for Black music creators and industry professionals, creating new ways to champion Black success and to highlight development pathways which will benefit the next generation coming through. We also intend to work closely with other platforms and to ensure our Outreach approach ensures other talent development programmes attract Black talent.

Influencing policy

POWER UP learnings will be shared through regular Comms, annual reports and other reporting which demonstrates the long-term benefits of action and inclusivity. This reporting will be heavily influenced by our Black POWER UP Participants and PRS Foundation and Power Up Executive Steering Committee members will play a key role in influencing policy from top-down.

This will complement the work of other initiatives and campaigns, including bi-annual UK Music Diversity Taskforce reporting and their other work (including the Ten-Point Plan) the Black Music Coalition’s Manifesto.

Power Links

Alongside the participant programme and the change-making movement, we will apply a holistic approach to inclusion through a ‘Power Links’ approach which will result in better signposting of Black music creators to other funds and programmes, smartly connecting organisations we fund, and working closely with other initiatives and organisations doing amazing work to move the needle.

Find out more here.

About 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.

It was created in urgent response to a need identified during their observation of #TheShowMustBePaused an initiative started by Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas to pause and reflect in the wake of the highly publicised and horrendous killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. #TheShowMustBePaused and #TheShowMustBePausedUK took place on Tuesday June 2nd 2020 resulting in #BlackOutTuesday. As a result of many conversations that took place that day and over the course of the following week, the Black Music Coalition was created with its founding members collaborating to create an immediate call to action to companies who had pledged support on #BlackOutTuesday.

An open letter to UK industry leaders was sent out by the BMC on Monday 8th June, featuring five key priorities.  The BMC then entered a period of in-depth strategy and development work, creating a framework to implement overarching strategies in order to advise and support companies and individuals long-term.

A September 2020 Town Hall Meeting revealed the BMC’s Manifesto and announced an executive committee which includes Sheryl Nwosu (BMC Chair), and 0207 Def Jam A&R Director, Char Grant who both now sit on the POWER UP Executive Steering Committee.

Via the POWER UP Executive Committee, we will ensure POWER UP Movement messaging, targets and aims align with those of the BMC look forward to working together to ensure that key individuals and companies in our respective networks go beyond solidarity and achieve the change BMC Executives, BMC Affiliates and the wider Black music community demands.