Something feels different about the current climate. There have been anti-racism protests before, but whatever is happening now seems to affecting real change really fast. Let me run down some of the things that have happened just within the music industry in the last few weeks.
- Sony Music Group launched a US$100 million fund that will support anti-racist and social justice causes.
- Warner Music Group put up $US100 million for the same thing.
- Universal Music has pledged US$25 million to a social justice task force.
- BMG is going to review historical contracts of Black artists.
- YouTube has launched a US$100 million fund to “amplify the voices of Black creators.”
- Indie record label One Little Indian has changed their name to One Little Independent Records, saying that they understand some people found their original name to be racially offensive.
- A move to remove the word “urban” to describe music made by black artists is gaining momentum.
- The Grammy Awards just published their rule book for the first time. They’ve also dropped the word “urban” from their category names.
- As Confederate statues come down, there’s a petition to have a statue of General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, replaced by late GWAR frontman, Odorus Urungus. (Okay, that’s a little weird, but…)
- There’s a controversy in Liverpool where some want the name of Penny Lane to be changed because it was named after a slave trader in the 18th century.
None of these things were really on the radar until the death of George Floyd. And there’s more to come.