A new organisation called Black Lives in Music (BLIM) has been set up by Help Musicians charity trustee Charisse Beaumont and renowned musician-teacher Roger Wilson.
Beaumont and Wilson have created a taskforce to help them, including Yvette Griffiths, Orphy Robinson MBE, Shabaka Hutchings, Paulette Long OBE, Cleveland Watkiss MBE and James Joseph. It has already attracted an impressive group of partners, including Help Musicians UK, PRS Foundation, Musician’s Union, Arts Council England, the Association of British Orchestras, The Ivors Academy, Leeds Conservatoire, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Featured Artists’ Coalition, Jazz North, Manchester Jazz Festival, Litchfield Jazz Festival, Marsden Jazz Festival and the Black Music Coalition.
All are signed up to a 10-point charter to work to ensure people of colour are properly-represented and given the same musical life-chances in education and career and BLIM is asking all music organisations and individuals to do the same.
‘Black Lives in Music wishes to work with organisations, ensembles and companies throughout the UK music industry,’ the BLIM website says. ‘We wish to open dialogues and build relationships in the true spirit of working together. We want to collaborate with all agents of the UK music industry to achieve equality for people of colour so they can express themselves in music of all genres and in all areas of this profession.’
The website is also inviting people of all backgrounds within music to complete an online survey to give a clear indication of the ways in which race discrimination affects people in the UK.
CEO Charisse Beaumont said, ‘We are bringing together all black musicians and music professionals for this research in order to create change. Your participation will make this data, which currently doesn’t exist, the most powerful data set about black musicians in the world which will be used to drive positive and lasting change.’
Help Musicians UK chief executive James Ainscough said, ‘The data that Black Lives In Music collects will provide the musician-focused insight to fuel the change we all want to see. Their collaborative yet determined advocacy will create a positive legacy for many generations of musicians. That is why all of us at Help Musicians are passionate about supporting the establishment of Black Lives In Music. We are committed not just to co-funding their work, but also to listening and acting so we are part of the positive change that is needed across the music industry.’