As you will know our Executive Manager Yaw Owusu has been consulting with the PRS Foundation, the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development, to develop a new initiative aimed at addressing anti-Black racism and disparities in the music sector. On Monday, the initiative entitled Power Up launched to much industry wide fanfare.

‘Power Up’ is a long-term initiative designed and steered with over 80 Black music professionals, aimed at supporting 40 Black music creators and industry professionals per year with grants and industry-wide support as well as addressing anti-Black racism and disparities in the music sector. 

Set up and managed by PRS Foundation in partnership with YouTube Music, Beggars Group and the Black Music Coalition, the initiative brings together several music industry partners across all sectors to accelerate change. Supporters include AIM, the BPI, the FAC, The Ivors Academy, the MMF, the MPA, MPG, The Musicians’ Union, PPL, PRS for Music and the PRS Members’ Fund who bring added-value support to power up participants.  

To lead the decision-making process, a Power Up Executive Steering Committee was established in late 2020 featuring:

  • Keith Harris OBE, MD Keith Harris Music Ltd. (Artist Manager, Consultant)
  • Paulette Long OBE, Westbury Music (Music Publisher, Consultant, Dep’ Chair, UK Music Diversity Task Force)
  • Ammo Talwar MBE, Punch Records & UK Music Diversity Task Force Chair
  • Sheryl Nwosu, Lawyer & Chair of the Black Music Coalition
  • Mulika Sannie, Senior Vice President, Business Affairs, Kobalt
  • Jackie Davidson, JD Management
  • Ben Wynter, Co-Founder of Power Up, Founder Unstoppable Music & AIM Entrepreneur and Outreach Manager
  • Char Grant, A&R Director 0207 Def Jam, Founder of The Debrief & Black Music Coalition Executive Committee Member
  • Natalie Wade MBE, Founder/CEO of Small Green Shoots & Co-Founder of The Cat’s Mother
  • Lorna Clarke, PRS Foundation Trustee
  • Les Spaine, CEO, Spaine Music Company
  • Danny D, Tim & Danny Music (Stellar Songs, Delirious Blacksmith Records)
  • Kwame Safo, Funk Butcher/Houseology & PRS Foundation
  • Taponeswa Mavunga, Director of Africa, Sony Music
  • Yaw Owusu, Senior Power Up Manager, PRS Foundation (Chair) / The Playmaker Group
  • Joe Frankland, CEO, PRS Foundation

Executive Steering Committee member, Char Grant said, “I am very proud to be a part of the executive steering committee which is shaping the Power Up programme. I am beyond happy that our shared vision for the betterment of Black people is starting to be delivered on terms that create real opportunity for the next generation of Black artists, Black creatives, and those that wish to build careers in the industry.”

Power Up’ aims to break down barriers to create a fairer, more equitable music industry, to achieve better representation in all sectors of the UK music industry, and to amplify the work of Black creators and industry professionals, through two strands, the Power Up Participant Programme and the Power Up Movement.

The Power Up Participant Programme is a long-term network addressing barriers facing 40 Black participants (20 Black music creators and 20 Black executives and industry professionals) each year. Participants will be at crucial career stages, working in any genre or sub-sector, and will be in need of support to progress, powering up through:

  • Grant support of up to £15,000
  • Capacity building and mentoring
  • Support from partners
  • Marketing support

In alliance with the Black Music Coalition, the Power Up Movement will set targets and apply industry pressure to increase Black representation, empower and advocate for Black talent and industry professionals, consequently influencing policy and shaping the future of the music.

Power Up Ambassadors include MC and actor Kano; award-winning BBC Presenter and Music Entrepreneur DJ Target;Disturbing London Founder Dumi Oburota;artist Ray Blk;LinkUp TV Founder Rashid Kasirye; and singer-songwriter Sabrina Washington

Power Up Ambassador Ray Blk said, “I’m delighted and so proud to be an Ambassador for Power Up and lend my support and voice for the initiative to help make the change the industry so desperately needs.”

Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music at YouTube added: “We’re currently facing the perpetual moment of truth. We’ve seen our Black brothers and sisters demeaned and disrespected for centuries and as a music industry, we have an outsized voice in culture and must be held accountable. We have a lot of work to do, but YouTube Music is committed to this marathon. We’re proud to be partnering with the PRS foundation to accelerate real change.”