Scale of racism in music industry revealed in new survey

·2-min read
Little Mix singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock has said she was made to feel like the band’s ‘token black girl’  (Richard Ansett/BBC/Dragonfly)
Little Mix singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock has said she was made to feel like the band’s ‘token black girl’ (Richard Ansett/BBC/Dragonfly)

Almost two thirds of black people in the music industry say they have experienced racism at work, according to a new survey.

Charisse Beaumont, the Chief Executive of Black Lives in Music, said the report “highlights racist culture and behaviours” in the business.

Almost 2,000 people took part in the survey and among the problems reported were Black artists saying they were given less studio time and pressured to change the kind of music they make while being billed as “urban artists” regardless of what they played.

The survey found three in five (63 per cent) Black music creators experienced direct or indirect racism in the music industry.

Ms Beaumont said: “This is a first of it’s kind report which holds a mirror up to the UK music industry showing what it actually looks like. The disparities Black creators and industry professionals are faced with is rooted in traditionalism and systemic racism.

“The report highlights racist culture and behaviours in the workplace, financial barriers and lack of investment in Black music creators, and industry professionals unable to reach their career goals. The report also spotlights Black women being the most disadvantaged across all areas of the music industry and how all of these factors affect the mental health of Black creators and industry professionals. This is data, you cannot ignore it.”

The criticisms echo those made by stars including Little Mix singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock who said she was made to feel like the band’s “token black girl” and that she often felt “invisible” when appearing with the band.

It comes as campaigning group Arts Emergency demanded the creative industries do more to be open to young people from different backgrounds.

Their research found just 16 per cent of people in the creative industries are from working class backgrounds and less than five per cent of people working in music, the visual and performing arts are from a BAME background.

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