Initiative launched to combat anti-black racism in the music industry

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·2-min read

PRS Foundation has launched an initiative to combat anti-black racism in the music industry.

Power Up will support 40 black music creators and professionals each year with grants and other backing, and will be steered by more than 80 black professionals working across the sector.

Among those figures are artist manager Keith Harris, A&R director of 0207 Def Jam Char Grant and director of Africa for Sony Music Taponeswa Mavunga.

Rapper and actor Kane “Kano” Robinson, Mis-Teeq star Sabrina Washington and the BBC’s DJ Target have signed up as ambassadors.

PRS Foundation, a charitable funder of new music, set up the long-term initiative in partnership with YouTube Music, the Beggars Group of record labels and the Black Music Coalition.

Power Up will function across two strands – the Power Up Participant Programme, to help participants at a crucial stage in their careers, and the Power Up Movement, which will set targets and influence policy across the sector.

Senior manager Yaw Owusu has also set up and chaired seven focus groups covering issues including recording and publishing, live, gender, sexuality and regionality.

Bodies including The Ivors Academy, The Musicians’ Union and the British Phonographic Industry have thrown their support behind the initiative.

Power Up ambassador Ray Blk said: “I’m delighted and so proud to be an ambassador for Power Up and lend my support and voice for the initiative to help make the change the industry so desperately needs.”

Co-founder Ben Wynter said: “Rather than finger point and fight the industry, I wanted to be able to work with, help, encourage and guide the industry into a more inclusive, representative and equitable music industry. This is why industry participation in Power Up is so important.”

Power Up launched with the premiere of a documentary, Time To Power Up, on YouTube on Monday.

An open call for black applicants will be announced in the coming weeks.