BDRB, CIMA and ADVANCE gather music industry leaders to sign “The Declaration to End Anti-Black Racism in the Canadian Music Industry” on the 1-year anniversary of #BlackOutTuesday
Toronto, ON (May 21, 2021) – On Wednesday June 2nd, the 1-year anniversary of Blackout Tuesday, the viral global action to protest anti-Black racism, BDRB (Breaking Down Racial Barriers) with CIMA (Canadian Independent Music Association) and ADVANCE (Canada’s Black Music Business Collective) will be hosting a virtual declaration signing event for music industry leaders to make public their commitment to anti-Black racism. The event will include speakers Andrew Cash (President, CIMA), Keziah Myers (Executive Director, ADVANCE), Ian Andre Espinet (Co-founder, BDRB), David “Click” Cox (Co-founder, BDRB), Shauna de Cartier(President, Six Shooter Records), Steve Kane (President, Warner Music), Erin Benjamin (President/CEO, Canadian Live Music Association), and performances by multiple JUNO Award-winning singer, songwriter and international recording artist Jully Black, and fast rising R&B vocalist and phenomenon Shantel May.
“Today, CIMA calls upon the music community in Canada to declare its commitment to ending anti-Black racism in the Canadian music industry. By doing so we commit to the creation of a more equitable, inclusive, and diverse industry; one that not only includes, encourages, and fosters the success of Black entrepreneurs and professionals but does so intentionally,” says Andrew Cash, CIMA’s Executive Director. “CIMA is proud and honoured to partner with BDRB and ADVANCE to bring this Declaration forth. This initiative is vitally important to our organization and an urgent call to all our partners and colleagues to bring this declaration to life in your workplaces, and within yourselves, to eradicate anti-Black racism.”
“ADVANCE is committed to advocating for Black professionals in the music industry,” adds Keziah Myers, Executive Director of ADVANCE. “We believe that anti-Black racism shouldn’t exist in any space, and that it has limited the progress of Black people in the music sector. The Breaking Down Racial Barriers declaration is extremely important to us because it is a step in the right direction towards ending racism. Collectively, we as an industry need co-conspirators that stand in the gap, and ensure that equity is achieved.”
The Declaration builds on the findings of last year’s ground-breaking “Breaking Down Racial Barriers” roundtable which featured over 60 working Black music professionals discussing anti-Black racism throughout the Canadian music and entertainment industry. The 10-part series featured candid, and at times uncomfortable conversations on anti-Black racism and its impact on independent and major label artists, live event producers, music creatives, economics, media, and the succession and retention of Black music professionals throughout the music ecosystem including executives. “The BDRB Declaration to End Anti-Black Racism in the Canadian Music Industry” commits signatories to measurable actions – music industry leaders and practitioners will be expected to make an active, conscious and ongoing effort to work against racism; to create mechanisms to dismantle systems that perpetuate racism, and to create actionable solutions with measurable outcomes. The Declaration acts as a precursor to the CIMA commissioned BDRB Report on anti-Black racism in the Canadian music industry which will arrive in the coming weeks.
This is an invitation to ALL music industry leaders to commit to making change in their respective spaces.
Please consider this your personal invitation.
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Black music industry mainstays Dave “Click” Cox & Ian Andre Espinet initiated Breaking Down Racial Barriers (BDRB) in August 2020. Initially a 10-week roundtable, BDRB featured over 60 working Black music professionals discussing their experiences with anti-Black racism in the Canadian music industry.
BDRB is presently authoring a CIMA commissioned report on anti-Black racism in the Canadian music industry. In partnership with CIMA and ADVANCE, BDRB has invited individuals, companies, corporations, organizations and government institutions from the industry to sign “The BDRB Declaration to End Anti-Black Racism in the Canadian Music Industry”. The signing will take place on June 2nd 2021, the 1 year anniversary of #BlackOutTuesday.
CIMA is the not-for-profit national trade association representing the English-language, Canadian-owned sector of the music industry. CIMA’s mandate is to develop and advocate policies and services that serve to support a strong and economically stable Canadian independent music and sound recording industry, ensuring the long-term development of the sector and to raise the profile of Canadian independent music both in Canada and around the world.
ADVANCE, Canada’s Black Music Business Collective, is leading the change in developing an infrastructure for the betterment, upliftment and retention of Black people in the music business. Serving as a unified front for Black people working within all sectors of the Canadian music industry, Advance creates conditions for long-term success by addressing racial equality and inclusivity through four areas: Advocacy, Mentorship, Community Outreach and Business Development and Entrepreneurship.
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