Zeze Millz hosts new series with Black Lives in Music

BLACK LIVES in Music (BLiM), a new organisation set up to address racial inequality in the music industry and create opportunities for Black musicians and professionals, launched last month.

This week the unveiled a new five-part video series, ‘A Celebration of Black Music’, with the first episode out now on YouTube.

Hosted by Zeze Millz, the video series will welcome different guests each week, beginning with composer, singer, songwriter and cellist Ayanna Witter Johnson and 2018’s BBC Young Jazz Musician winner Xhosa Cole.

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Also featuring in future episodes are: Sheku Kanneh-Mason, 2016’s BBC Young Musician Award winner who performed at the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, plus Sons of Kemet band leader Shabaka Hutchings, music psychologist and researcher Natasha Hendry and musician Jake Isaac.

Throughout the series guests will discuss their experiences as Black artists, from how they got into music and began their careers, to their thoughts on the future of Black lives in the music industry.

All videos were filmed at Mindspace Hammersmith – high-end workspaces, and are sponsored by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

“It’s called ‘Black Lives in Music: A Celebration of Black Music’ which gives you a sense of what Zeze will be talking about with her guests. It will be a focus on the journey and experiences of some of the most respected music creators today.” says BLiM Co-founder and Chief Executive Charisse Beaumont.

Launching in March 2021, BLiM are calling for Black musicians and music creators across Britain to take part in ground-breaking research. BLiM will use data and advocacy to amplify and empower Black musicians and music creators in order to bring about increased and sustained representation and participation at all levels for a truly diverse and inclusive industry.

Research from Arts Council England showed that of leadership roles occupied by employees at almost 100 of its leading National Portfolio Organisations, only 10 per cent of Chief Executives, 11 per cent of Senior Managers, 11 per cent of Chairs, and 15 per cent of board members were from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds.

But there is currently no data about the experience and everyday reality for Black musicians in the UK.

The organisation is addressing this by having launched The Black Lives in Music survey, research looking at the issues Black creatives faces in multiple areas including racial discrimination, mental health, well-being and economic disparity. The results of the survey are set to be published in an annual BLiM report in May 2021.

BLiM Co-founder and Chief Executive 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.”

Co-founder Roger Wilson added: “We need you to be part of it…to do this for you and your future. If you do, it will make a difference!”

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