On the heels of artists, including Jessie Reyez, calling for more Black staff and upper management at Canadian record labels, a new movement to applify the voices of Black music industry professionals in Canada is born.
ADVANCE is a Toronto-based non-profit that “aims to provide a unified voice for Black people working in the Canadian music industry”. In a statement released yesterday on the group’s Twitter account they stated that they will “lead the change for real, tangible Black advancement and reform in the music business landscape and infrastructure in corporate, private and government sectors”.
Branded as “Canada’s Black music business collective”, the organization will address racial equality and inclusivity through advocacy, mentorship, community outreach and business development, and entrepreneurship.
This new initiative comes as major record labels in Canada have been under fire in recent months for their lack of Black representation despite the contributions of Black talent to the industry.
In a recent interview Reyez noted, “Sony, it’s 90 employees, but only eight are Black; at Warner, it’s 86 employees, only seven are Black; and at Universal, — I’m personally signed to Universal, but I’m going to be completely open about this — 175 employees, 11 Black people.”
She then continued stating, “Out of those Black people, none of them are in executive positions or leadership positions, except one, Vivian Barclay at Warner Chappell [publishing] — one. She’s the general manager. In the music industry in Canada — one. That’s not acceptable.”
While the four major labels have yet to confirm these statistics, it is clear that ADVANCE and its mandate of providing a unified voice for Black people in the music industry is well-needed.