According to Music Business Worldwide, Warner Music Group and the Blavatnik Family Foundation have announced the first grant recipients from the social justice fund they announced last year. The $100 million fund was created in June of 2020 following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. The fund is designed to acknowledge the major contributions black culture has made to the music industry, and invest in organizations that work towards building more equitable communities with an emphasis on marginalized groups.
Len Blavatnik, Chairman of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, describes how “Providing opportunities for underserved communities in education in the arts paves the way for equal opportunity and representation in the music industry and beyond.” This fund is part of Warner Music Group’s efforts to contribute to diversity, inclusion and equity in and outside of the music industry.
The first six recipients of the grants include the Black Cultural Archives, Black Futures Lab, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), Howard University, REFORM Alliance and Rhythm & Blues Foundation.
Howard University will be receiving a multimillion-dollar grant over the span of five years that will fund the creation of a new music business center at the Howard University School of Business. The funding will help to supply the university with a new recording studio, internship opportunities and more.
FRRC will use the grant money to pay off the remaining legal and financial fees of formerly convicted people, allowing them to gain eligibility to vote. The coalition has already provided aid to 40,000 returning citizens.
The Rhythm & Blues Foundation will provide medical and financial assistance to legacy R&B artists, namely those who have been confronted with challenges in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Camille Hackney, president of the Warner Music Group’s Social Justice Fund, states that “Our Fund intends to not only work to effect structural change through our contributions, but also support Black-owned and led businesses as a core way of operating.”
Shortly after WMG announced their fund, Sony Music also committed to creating a social justice fund dedicated to supporting social justice causes and standing “against discrimination everywhere.” Several artists including The Weeknd, Imani Coppola and Ray Angry, Jeff Rosenstock, YG and more have made statements in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, some even dedicating songs, albums or royalties to the cause.