‘Power Up’ Initiative Opens Application Process for Black Music Creators and Industry Professionals

Black music creators and industry professionals can now apply for the ground-breaking new ‘Power Up’ Initiative, managed by PRS Foundation. 

Black music creators and industry professionals have one month to apply to the programme, with the application deadline set at Wednesday 10th March (6pm). Successful applicants will be announced in April 2021.

Information on how to apply and FAQs are available on the PRS Foundation website here.

Further ambassadors have also been confirmed in supporting the Power Up Movement. Celebrated recording artist Lady Leshurr, BBC radio presenter/DJ Tiffany Calver, Co-President of 0207 Def Jam Alex Boateng and CEO of GRM Daily Koby ‘Posty’ Hagan are the latest names to be added to Power Up Ambassadors list, joining the likes of MC and actor Kano, award-winning BBC Presenter and Music Entrepreneur DJ Target, artist and relations manager at YouTube Music Sheniece Charway, Disturbing London Founder Dumi Oburota, artist Ray Blk, LinkUp TV Founder Rashid Kasirye and triple BAFTA Award winning singer-songwriter and former lead singer of Mis-Teeq, Sabrina Washington.

Announced last month alongside a premiere of Time To Power Up, Power Up has been set up and is managed by PRS Foundation in partnership with YouTube Music, Beggars Group and the Black Music Coalition. The initiative brings together several music industry partners across all sectors to accelerate change, with supporters including Creative Scotland, AIM, the BPI, the FAC, The Ivors Academy, the MMF, the MPA, MPG, The Musicians’ Union, PPL, PRS for Music and the PRS Members’ Fund who bring added-value support to Power Up participants.

Following on from the ‘Time To Power Up’ premiere on YouTube, a new “Time To Power Up Podcast” series is being released, with discussions centring around the experience of Black Music creators and Industry professionals within the UK music industry and delving deeper into the detail of the initiative and how people can get involved.

Episode one is hosted by Ace from BBC Radio 1Xtra and guests include, Keith Harris, Kwame Kwaten, Rich Castillo, Hannah Kendall, Despa and Neicee Oakley, episode two is hosted by Jamz Supernova from BBC Radio 1Xtra with guests including, Ben Wynter, Joe Frankland, Yaw Owusu and Natalie Wade.

These first two episodes are available to listen to from today: LISTEN HERE

The Power Up Participant Programme is a long-term network addressing barriers facing 40 Black participants (20 Black music creators and 20 Black executives and industry professionals) each year. Participants will be at crucial career stages, working in any genre or sub-sector, and will be in need of support to progress, powering up through:

·   Grant support of up to £15,000

·   Capacity building and mentoring

·   Support from partners

·   Marketing support

Power Up Ambassador Alex Boateng said, “Power Up is needed. The opportunities still don’t match the talent in our industry, it’s changing – but we need to do more. So it’s a pleasure to help.”

More than 80 Black music executives and creators have come together to contribute and steer ‘Power Up’. Senior Power Up Manager, Yaw Owusu set up and chaired seven focus groups covering Recording and Publishing, Live, Platforms, Gender, Sexuality, Enterprise and Regionality.

Power Up’ aims to break down barriers to create a fairer, more equitable music industry, to achieve better representation in all sectors of the UK music industry, and to amplify the work of Black creators and industry professionals, through two strands, the Power Up Participant Programme and the Power Up Movement.

In alliance with the Black Music Coalition, the Power Up Movement will set targets and apply industry pressure to increase Black representation, empower and advocate for Black talent and industry professionals, consequently influencing policy and shaping the future of the music.

The Black Lives Matter movement highlighted the need for conversations around the structural and systemic anti-Black racism that occurs in today’s society. #TheShowMustBePausedUK in June 2020 led to more open discussions within music which brought to light the many barriers that face Black talent, including structural and systemic racism and injustice, everyday prejudice in the workplace, marginalisation and underrepresentation, economic inequality, and inequitable financial benefit.

The UK Music’s 2020 Diversity Report found that only 7.8% of the music industry workforce surveyed identified as Black (35.05% of Ethnic Minority respondents). In a survey conducted by PRS Foundation, out of 400 Black applicants to a 2020 deadline, 78% said they had experienced racism within the music industry. 90% agreed that there is a lack of visibility of Black industry professionals in senior roles, and 69% agreed that music funding is less accessible for Black talent.

To bring about meaningful and lasting change, public solidarity is not enough. It must be followed by commitments, accountability and action.

Keith Harris OBE, Managing Director Keith Harris Music Ltd and Power Up Executive Steering Committee member said, “Last year in the wake of the George Floyd episode so much was promised in terms of shifting the dial to improve the situation for minorities in the music industry, so little has so far been delivered. Power Up is an important step towards that delivery.”

‘Power Up’ was created to address the barriers that face Black music industry creators, professionals and executives in light of the Black Lives Matter movement. PRS Foundation is proud to champion inclusion and diversity in the music industry with the Power Up movement being just one of many actions of commitment they are taking to stand up against injustice and support the Black music community.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 10th March at 6pm. Members of the Year 1 Power Up Participant network will be selected and announced in April 2021.

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