The BPI today formally announces the formation of the BPI Equality & Justice Advisory Group. The group, which has been in place since June and is made up largely of industry executives of colour with a background in music and media, will advise and challenge the BPI on matters initially focused on race and gender in order to further support and promote equality and inclusion in music alongside other industry initiatives.

The Group’s members are drawn from The BRITS Diversity Advisory Group which first came together in 2016 under the direction of BPI Chairman Ged Doherty to advise on how The BRIT Awards could better reflect diversity and the depth of British Black music in the wake of #BRITsSoWhite. However, following the global music community’s Blackout Tuesday response to the death of George Floyd and the recognition that it needs to do more to address inequality and injustice, the Group has been reconstituted to take on a broader industry remit.

The Group describes itself as a “diverse/intersectional and independent board of respected music industry professionals, who collectively advocate for the progression of the equality, diversity and intersectional agenda across the sector and will contribute to steering the BPI’s equality, diversity and intersectional work for its members, award shows, events and The BRIT Trust”. Its mission is to work “collaboratively and progressively to advocate and push for positive (intersectional) change and representation across the sector, with an initial focus on race and gender, for the benefit of the music industry and its current and future workforce at all levels”.

The BPI Equality & Justice Advisory Group is co-chaired by Paulette Long OBE, Kwame Kwaten and Ged Doherty.  The 13-strong group also comprises Amanda Maxwell, Arit Eminue, Ayesha Hazarika MBE, Indy Vidyalankara, Jasmine Dotiwala, Matt Ross, Meenal Odedra, Mervyn Lyn, Naz Hussain and Sharon Brooks. The Group is supported by an Internal BPI Equality & Inclusion Committee. 

Paulette Long OBE, Co-Chair BPI Equality & Justice Group, said:

The BPI Equality & Justice Group is in the right place at the right time. Ready to tackle inequalities in the music industry having already proved that meaningful engagement, a strategic plan of action and a desire to do what is right can bring about real lasting change.”

Kwame Kwaten, Co-Chair BPI Equality & Justice Group, said:

“It’s been a long road and many meetings, but I feel being part of The Equality & Justice Advisory Group has been worth it and will grow to help bring more diversity to The BPI. There is still much work to do but I’m hopeful that we can make a difference. The Equality & Justice Advisory Group stands for just that! EJAG all the way.” 

Ged Doherty, Co-Chair BPI Equality & Justice Group, said:

“This group originally began its work in 2016 in the wake of BRITsSoWhite, helping to better reflect diversity and the depth of British Black music through The BRIT Awards. However, there is clearly a bigger job to be done in promoting equality and inclusion more widely across our industry, and, reconstituted as the BPI Equality & Justice Group, this group can play a broader role in advising and challenging the BPI to help ensure lasting and meaningful change.”   

The BPI Equality & Justice Advisory Group members will be introduced individually and as a group through the BPI’s online and social media presence across October – activity that will coincide with Black History Month and related content.  Visibility for the Group’s work and achievements will be supported through a dedicated Equality & Inclusion section on the BPI website, which will also act as a platform for other important aspects of the BPI’s work to promote equality and inclusion as these develop in future, including with regard to gender, sexuality, abilities-related and other facets of diversity, such as neuro-diversity.

Supporting the BPI’s work and that of the BPI Equality & Justice Advisory Group in promoting equality and inclusion at the BPI and across the music industry, the BPI recently launched an Equality Training Programme.  This educational series aims to provide a valuable resource to BPI members and the wider music community through training workshops and other events (currently hosted virtually) aimed at helping music companies to recruit, maintain and empower a diverse workforce. Sessions held to date include Diversity in the Ranks, hosted on 28th July 2020 by Paulette Long OBE and Kate Reilly, Director of People and Organisational Development at PPL, and on 17th September 2020 Let’s Talk About Race, hosted by Dr. Joanna Abeyie MBE, Founder and CEO of Blue Moon. There are further sessions planned for later in the year.