New initiative offers grants to Black music professionals

Since the protests against the killing of George Floyd among many others, record labels have started to tackle both police brutality in society as well as problems internal to the music industry. Joining this drive for positive change, the UK’s leading funder of new musical talent, the PRS Foundation, is launching a new programme to remove barriers for Black music professionals.

Designed by 80 Black workers from the music industry, PRS Foundation’s Power Up initiative will support 40 Black music creators and industry professionals per year with grants and industry-wide support, in efforts to address anti-Black racism and disparities in the music sector.

Co-Founder of Power Up, Ben Wynter said: “I am proud and excited that after a long six months, Power Up is finally able to launch. Having been on the receiving end of unconscious bias and the structural and systemic anti-Black behaviour that occurs within our industry, I know first-hand just how important Power Up is. 

“Following on from Black Out Tuesday and seeing all of the posts of solidarity, I realised that there was an opportunity to seize the moment and put something in place that would encourage the dialogue to last beyond the 2020 BLM movement and have a lasting impact over the next decade and beyond. Step forward Power Up!

Join the fight for racial equality in music

Unfortunately, racism is very present in society and the music industry reflects this. In a survey conducted by PRS Foundation of 400 Black music professionals, 78 per cent had experienced racism at work and 90 per cent thought there were too few Black people in senior roles.

The Power Up programme aims to confront this problem by boosting the profile of Black music professionals. It will provide 20 Black music creators and 20 Black executives and industry professionals each year with a long-term support network, grants of up to £15,000, mentoring programmes, marketing support and anti-racism campaigns.

The foundation will choose participants based on the stage they are at in their career and their need for support. They will make an open call for Black applicants in the coming weeks, with successful participants announced in the spring. For further information about the programme visit their website.

Created by copyright company PRS for Music, the PRS Foundation funds talented individuals starting out in the music industry. To learn more about the funding opportunities they offer, visit their funding page.