UMG’S TASK FORCE FOR MEANINGFUL CHANGE
UMG’S TASK FORCE FOR MEANINGFUL CHANGE
The Task Force for Meaningful Change (TFMC) was created as a driving force for inclusion and social justice. TFMC works to amplify and expand UMG’s current programs, devise new initiatives and support marginalized communities in the ongoing fight for equality, justice and inclusion. Our work is divided into six areas:
- Aid/Charitable Giving
We pursue initiatives with, and fund charitable contributions to, organizations that are focused on providing support in areas such as: economic empowerment and business development; housing; legal services and bail; mental health services; legislative reform; physical health services; and voting resources and education.
Acknowledging that racism, intolerance and bias know no borders, we are identifying and adopting global policies and initiatives to address equality, bias, equity and inclusion efforts for all UMG offices around the world.
- Internal/Institutional Change
We are examining UMG’s policies, procedures and work environment as they apply to our workforce. This includes identifying areas to improve access, recruitment, advancement and retention of a diverse workforce at all levels within the company but with a focus on leadership positions and other senior-level roles.
We are working closely with UMG HR’s Diversity & Inclusion team to continue its ongoing efforts and build upon the company’s partnership with USC Annenberg’s Inclusion Initiative.
- Legislative/Public Policy
We pursue constructive social change by improving public policies via: Federal, state and local legislation; legal actions to challenge laws and regulations that promote bias and systemic discrimination; and voter education, registration and participation.
UMG has a history of investing in, and partnering with, entrepreneurs who have grown their business out of the community, building some of the most impactful and dynamic voices in entertainment today. Working alongside our partners in their focused efforts to initiate and support change in their communities, we reap the benefit of their insights, which help us continue to grow our own efforts in the fight for justice and equality.
Just as music connects people around the world, our goal is to promote dialogue and understanding through speaker fora, counseling, and educational and creative programming focused on the themes of tolerance, equality and inclusion – especially around the intersection of Black Music, art, lifestyle, fashion, technology and creators, as well as celebrating Black artists and creators, and conducting thoughtful discussions on current events.
We will continue to expand upon UMG HR’s Diversity & Inclusion programming, including their Belonging Table town hall series about diversity and inclusion and other series bringing outside experts to address relevant topics, ranging from economic empowerment and business development, mental health and voting.
WHO WE ARE
We are a group of professionals from across UMG – including our corporate center, labels and companies around the globe.
Jeff Harleston, General Counsel and EVP of Business & Legal Affairs, UMG and Interim Chairman and CEO, Def Jam
Ethiopia Habtemariam, President Motown Records & EVP Capitol Music Group
|Alex Boateng, UMG UK
Amaiya Davis, Media Manager, Republic Records
Amber Grimes, SVP Global Creative, Capitol Music Group
Annie Imamura, VP Global Communications, UMG
Bill Evans, SVP Urban Promotions, Capitol Music Group
Brian Nolan, EVP, Capitol Music Group
Britney Davis, VP of Artist Relations, Marketing & Special Projects, CMG
Cara Donatto, EVP Head of Media Strategy, Interscope Geffen A&M
Damion Presson, SVP Artist Relations, Republic Records
Darcus Beese, President & CEO, Island Records
Don Was, President, Blue Note Records
Jeff Burroughs, SVP Marketing, Def Jam
Jeff Vaughn, President, Capitol Records
Joie Manda, EVP, Interscope Geffen A&M
Kardinal Offishall, Sr. Director A&R, UMG Canada
|Katina Bynum, EVP Urban, UMe
Latrice Burnette, EVP & GM, Island Records
Magda Vives, SVP Legal & Business Affairs for Latin America
Marc Byers, GM, Motown Records
Marleny Reyes, SVP Marketing, Republic Records
Naim McNair, SVP A&R, UMG and Def Jam Recordings
Natina Nimene, SVP Urban Promotions, Def Jam Recordings
Nicole Wyskoarko, EVP Head of Urban Operations, Interscope Geffen A&M
Rodney Shealy, EVP, Def Jam Recordings
Sam Taylor, EVP A&R, Republic Records
Sipho Dlamini, Managing Director, South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa, UMG
Sickamore, SVP, A&R , Interscope Geffen A&M
Steve Carless, EVP A&R, President, Republic Records
Travis Robinson, VP Diversity & Inclusion, UMG
Tim Glover, SVP, A&R, Interscope Geffen A&M
Walter Jones, Head of West Coast A&R, UMPG
WHAT WE DO
Drive UMG’s ongoing programs and develop new ones, including in these selected areas.
- Funding Partners in Social Change
Both through direct funding and by matching employee contributions, we support groups working for social change.
- Fund for Justice.
Through UMG’s All Together Now Foundation, we are funding a range of organizations whose focus includes racial justice, criminal justice reform, legal aid and community support. UMG has provided funding for this phase of investments and will provide additional funding as the Task Force details further plans.
In addition to our long-standing partners, we provided a round of funding grants to Black Girl Ventures, Black Lives Matter, Black Mental Health Alliance, Colin Kaepernick Foundation, Color Of Change, Equal Justice Initiative, Marsha P. Johnson Institute, National Association of Black Journalists, National LGBT Bar Association, Silence the Shame, Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California, The Bail Project, and When We All Vote. This list will be updated on an ongoing basis.
- Fund for Employee Action.
Through our All Together Now program, UMG matches employees’ qualifying contributions to non-profit groups. Among the top recent recipients of our matching fund program are: ACLU; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Black Lives Matter Fund; King Center for Nonviolent Social Change; Bail Project, Inc.; Southern Poverty Law Center; Minnesota Freedom Fund; Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Northside Achievement Zone; and Race Forward.
- Fund for Justice.
- Making Change Within UMG and the Music Community
We work to achieve greater diversity and inclusion within our own company and community.
- Diversifying Our Employee Population
In order to recruit, retain and promote a more diverse workforce, we launched an internal diversity and inclusion initiative in 2018, when we established our UMG Diversity & Inclusion team, which partnered with Recruitment, to lead various efforts such as: D&I training of hiring managers with intentional education addressing unconscious bias; 2019 recruiting partnerships at Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs); Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), such as our Black Label Group, to foster community, cultural awareness and inclusion; diverse networking events, such as REVOLT, AFRO Tech & Diversity Reboot Summit; and much, much more.
Click HERE to join our team!
- Partnering with the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.
UMG is a founding partner of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. Since 2017, the initiative has worked to create measurable change for the representation of women and underrepresented racial and ethnic groups across all areas of the music business.
The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative released its first study on the music business in 2018, which provided needed insight into inclusion in the recording industry. Since then, the Initiative has released additional research exploring disparities in country and Latin genres, and illuminated the barriers facing female songwriters and producers. The Initiative has partnered with She Is The Music, to provide data on women in the music industry and insight into industry solutions. Dr. Stacy L. Smith, the Initiative’s Founder, also served on the Recording Academy Task Force for Diversity and Inclusion, whose equity-based focus has resulted in two years of increased nominations for female artists in key Grammy categories.
On June 26th, we announced the expansion of our partnership with Annenberg to conduct new research – examining major and independent music companies, labels and publishers, digital platforms, radio and live concert companies as well as artists’ teams, focusing on managers, agents, attorneys and publicists – to determine the extent to which men and women of color are excluded from music’s leadership ranks. With this information in hand, Annenberg will issue a report, establishing goals and providing recommendations on how the music industry can address these disparities.
- Diversifying Our Employee Population
- Making Change Through Legislation and Law
We work to help achieve change by actively engaging in civic affairs through legal work, legislative support and voting participation activities.
- Legal Volunteer Action Center.
Organizing UMG legal staff to do pro bono legal work for social justice and criminal justice reform organizations.
- Voter Participation Center.
Partnering with organizations like When We All Vote, HeadCount, Rock the Vote and I am a voter, we support and conduct voter education, registration and participation drives.
- Legislative Advocacy.
We are educating employees on social justice and criminal justice reform and encouraging them to join us in advocating for priority legislation, such as the “Justice in Policing Act” (see here) and the repeal of New York’s Section 50-A (see here).
- Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference.
Since 2017, UMG has actively participated in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Legislative Conference both to celebrate and lead conversations that are important to the Black Community, including: 2017 with Senator Kamala Harris; 2018 with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (including “Artists, Activism and the Criminal Justice System” with UMG’s Jeff Harleston); and 2019 with Rep. Brenda Lawrence and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (including “What’s Going On” with UMG’s Motown President Ethiopia Habtemariam).
- Legal Volunteer Action Center.
Educational Programming and Constructive Dialogue
We promote compelling educational programming and dialogue not only by providing speakers with quality fora but also by including music and other arts.
- Employee Town Hall Meetings with Guest Speakers
We support the company’s ongoing series of employee Town Hall Meetings with topical speakers, such as: U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries about what’s going on in America today and what Congress might do about it; a panel of inclusion experts at a forum sponsored by UMG HR’s Diversity & Inclusion team and the company’s Black Label Group employee organization; and Island Records’ special Juneteenth programming about both wellness and how Black music has shaped America’s culture.
UMG Human Resources conducts several speaker series throughout the year, including “The Belonging Table” speaker series on diversity and inclusion, as well as the “Semicolon Sessions” – a two-part series over two weeks, including a session on mental health issues catered towards communities of color that featured a clinical therapist and two artists. Since 2019, Human Resources has held close to 50 employee events.
- College Speaker Series on Careers in Music
UMG’s college marketing division, 1824, launched its UMG Master Class series in 2017 highlighting the inner workings of a career in music for minority college students, with a special focus on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 1824 kicked off its first event at New York University with Pusha T, UMG’s SVP of A&R Steven Victor and Ebony Magazine. Since then, it’s held sessions at Howard University, Atlanta University Center – Spelman, Morehouse, Clark Atlanta and Hampton University, among others. A 2018 session at USC featured Motown President Ethiopia Habtemariam, and singer-songwriters BJ the Chicago Kid and Sebastian Kole.
Masterclass events :
- Partnering with Leading Cultural Institutions
UMG partnered with London’s TATE Modern and the Brooklyn Museum on their exhibit “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, 1963-1983.” The exhibition spotlighted era-defining works of painting, sculpture, photography, and performance produced during the decline of the Civil Rights Movement and the rise of Black Power. In New York, Verve Label Group created this playlist.
In London, Darcus Beese, President & CEO, Island Records curated a special Music of Black Power playlist, to show how music was critical to this movement and shared a selection of tracks which reflect this. You can listen to it here.
- Issuing Historic Releases
Among the many historic spoken word recordings that we have issued, this year, Motown Records celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and The Great March on Washington by releasing the historic 1963 album digitally for the first time. The recording culminates with the civil rights leader’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech. Ethiopia Habtemariam, President of Motown Records and EVP of Capitol Records, spoke with Elvis Mitchell – host of KCRW’s “The Treatment” – about what Dr. King’s speeches mean to her. View their conversation here.
Coinciding with the digital release of the album, TIME and executive producer Viola Davis invite the public to step back into history with THE MARCH – a ground breaking VR museum exhibit that recreates the March on Washington and allows visitors to witness first-hand the “I Have a Dream” speech. The immersive experience utilizes original audio from Motown. The exhibit at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago will run through November 2020. Additional exhibit locations will be announced. For details and tickets, visit https://time.com/the-march/.
- Teaching Students in Local Communities about Music
We work with local programs in our communities to teach high school students about music. In New York, for example, we have participated in career fairs hosted by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Originally created through a partnership between Compton Unified School District and Capitol Music Group (CMG) at Dominguez High School in Los Angeles, the Bonus Tracks program teaches high school students about careers within the music industry through in-person seminars led by CMG executives. Bonus Tracks has since expanded to schools in Nashville (in partnership with Capitol Christian Music Group) and Atlanta (working with Quality Control).
Bonus Tracks not only expands the students’ knowledge and professional development, but also opens doors to careers and networks to which they may not have otherwise had access. The ultimate goal is to increase opportunity and diversity in executive ranks in the music industry – and beyond. Through its work with the program, Capitol also established an annual college scholarship program for students at Dominguez High School.
For general inquiries about the Task Force for Meaningful change, please email TFMC@umusic.com.