The Canadian music industry is taking steps to eradicate anti-Black racism.
Wednesday, June 2 marks one year since #BlackOutTuesday, the viral social media movement protesting anti-Black racism and police brutality. On this anniversary, BDRB (Breaking Down Racial Barriers), along with CIMA (Canadian Independent Music Association), and ADVANCE (Canada’s Black Music Business Collective), are hosting a declaration signing event for Canadian music industry leaders in an effort to promote their commitment to ending anti-Black racism.
The virtual event, dubbed “The Declaration to End Anti-Black Racism in the Canadian Music Industry,” will feature performances by Juno award-winning singer and songwriter Jully Black, and up-and-coming R&B vocalist Shantel May.
“Today, CIMA calls upon the music community in Canada to declare its commitment to ending anti-Black racism in the Canadian music industry. By doing so we commit to the creation of a more equitable, inclusive, and diverse industry; one that not only includes, encourages, and fosters the success of Black entrepreneurs and professionals but does so intentionally,” says Andrew Cash, CIMA’s executive director. “CIMA is proud and honoured to partner with BDRB and ADVANCE to bring this Declaration forth. This initiative is vitally important to our organization and an urgent call to all our partners and colleagues to bring this declaration to life in your workplaces, and within yourselves, to eradicate anti-Black racism.”
Keziah Myers, executive director of ADVANCE says ADVANCE is committed to advocating for Black professionals in the music industry. “We believe that anti-Black racism shouldn’t exist in any space, and that it has limited the progress of Black people in the music sector,” she says. “The Breaking Down Racial Barriers declaration is extremely important to us because it is a step in the right direction towards ending racism. Collectively, we as an industry need co-conspirators that stand in the gap, and ensure that equity is achieved.”
Music industry professionals who sign the declaration will be held accountable for doing the work to dismantle racist systems and creating actionable, measurable solutions. BDRB is currently working on a CIMA-commissioned report on anti-Black racism in the Canadian music industry, which will be released in the next several weeks.