The industry's brightest new talents tell their stories. This month it's the turn of Janay Marie, community, programmes and events manager at TikTok...
How would you describe your journey through the music industry so far?
“I graduated from The BRIT School of performing arts and technology with a BTEC in Community Arts, then did work experience with various companies, from ITV to MOBO. I started an internship at Sony, where I was a part of Simon Cowell’s PR team working on The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and The Greatest Dancer. It was an amazing experience. During the pandemic, my current job came up at TikTok, working with creators on and off the platform, as well as working with the music team and artists on projects. It feels like I’ve been here for years and that the job was made for me.”
Describe a typical day at work...
“Every single day is different. One day, it’s back-to-back meetings, the next it’s working on presentation decks and catching up on admin. Then it may be site visits, or spending hours on TikTok, finding creators, venues or brands to work with on campaigns. It’s a crazy whirlwind – no day is the same.”
What are you most proud of in your career at TikTok?
“In my short time here I have accomplished a lot, especially when it comes to amplifying the Black community. We just finished the #ThisIsBlack campaign, which was a big deal for us. I led on other campaigns such as #Windrush, and on the event activation for Notting Hill Carnival with [TikTok creator manager] Lola Oyewole. I am most proud of leading on the Stephen Lawrence Day campaign. We worked with Stephen’s mother and her charity, as well as our music and live teams to create a memorial concert in honour of her son.”
We really need to start listening to everyone’s voices
How do you think the industry can improve its support of Black music creators?
“Research and representation are extremely important – everything, in fact. You want to be inclusive? Start hiring people in teams that can really push for the same diversity and inclusion activations you’re seeing elsewhere. Support Black music creators, ensure you’re paying fairly, invite them into spaces in order for them to grow. And lastly, listen to the feedback that’s being given, from entry level to senior management. Interns see everything, probably more than those at the top at times. We really need to start listening to everyone’s voices in the industry.”
Now you’ve established yourself in the industry, what do you hope for its future?
“We have a long way to go. Luckily, there are so many organisations that are encouraging diversity within music. I’m hoping in the future, we will see more Black people in senior positions across the industry, and once we’re through the pandemic, there will be even more activations and events within the music space.”
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