During this year’s Women In Music Awards, we inducted a further 14 game-changing industry executives (including one posthumous award) into the Roll Of Honour, in association with TikTok.
They join the pantheon of previous honourees, including some of the biggest names in the business, from Emma Banks and Sarah Stennett to Kanya King, Rebecca Allen and Stacey Tang, that have been selected since the awards began in 2014. The Roll Of Honour aims to highlight the breadth, depth and variety of individuals who are game-changers in the music industry, with their activities consistently benefiting women, or focusing on empowerment/gender disparity.
Following the Women In Music Awards ceremony, Music Week is running Q&A interviews with all of this year’s Roll Of Honour inductees.
Charisse Beaumont is chief executive at Black Lives In Music (BLIM), an organisation that is achieving equality for Black musicians and professionals in the music industry through research and advocacy, and is at the vanguard of the effort to combat racism, uniting organisations and musicians to create a truly inclusive and diverse music industry.
Last year, BLIM commissioned a survey on the personal experience of Black music creators and industry professionals, engaging with nearly 2,000 respondents. The groundbreaking report, Being Black In The UK Music Industry achieved over 3,000 downloads in just one week and subsequent media campaigns reached 788.9 million. It produced key information and an insight into the experience of the Black music creators and professionals in today’s music industry.
Beaumont brings more than 18 years of experience in brand creation and delivering market innovation. A former director of Preacher Boy Entertainment, an independent award-winning artist management and record company, Beaumont has worked with corporate businesses, media organisations, artists and charities, providing first-hand extensive advisory and consulting services to artists, managers, labels and students to develop and manage their career in entertainment. Beaumont has a strong knowledge of the UK’s music industry and has worked closely with award-winning and Grammy-nominated music artists across the UK and US from the beginning of their career.
How do you feel about joining the Music Week Women In Music Roll Of Honour?
“Reading through the list of previous inductees I am in awe of who they are, what they have achieved and how they have made an impact on the lives of people and on the music industry itself. These are women I have watched and studied from a distance. Women who have taken me under their wing. Women who have become my friends. To join this Roll Of Honour is not an honour to me, it's an honour for me. It's a blessing to see my name alongside these incredible women.”
How do you look back on your early years getting into the industry?
“When I look back on my early years it was a struggle, truly heartbreaking. Women who looked like me, women who identified as Black, Asian or ethnically diverse were not given a shot. We're not afforded the same opportunities as those who were white and especially white males. I knew my capabilities very early, I understood the music business, it was natural, I was sharp and executed well. But I also knew quite early that I was not going to see my aspirations fulfilled by going the traditional route of getting a job in the industry. I couldn't even get an internship!
“So I made my own way, owned my own businesses, a successful record label and management company, and hit milestones that have amazed me. It's been the ride of my life. I'm glad I didn't give up on my dreams and now I work to ensure other Black women don't give up on theirs.”
It's a blessing to see my name alongside these incredible women
Did you have a mentor at that stage?
“I got my first mentor when I left uni and my second in my mid-twenties. These are people who took me under their wing. They opened their home, their families and their entire life to me (good and bad), they allowed me to see it all so I could learn the reality of what it truly takes to not only run a business but to navigate through life successfully. I now do the same with the men and women I mentor.”
What’s your biggest achievement so far? Please go into detail.
“Outside of my family, which is my biggest achievement, the fact I am here is a huge achievement. To be able to celebrate myself is still tricky, with imposter syndrome and all that. But if I look back at my career and personal life, I have hit every milestone that I set out to achieve.
“Whether it was setting up my first company as a 23-year-old and watching that become a financial success, to starting my own record label and management company at 26-years-old and seeing my artists tour the world, get nominated and win Grammys. Or living in Nepal for a year and climbing the Himalayas.
“I have learned that looking back at my achievements not only gives me the confidence to know that I can tackle most things set in front of me, but it also shows me that I don't need the validation of others to get ahead. This allows me to always present the real me, the authentic me and I like her. And to get to this stage in my life is a massive achievement.
“It's not that I am cocky. I work hard and those championing me are also over achievers who present their 100% authentic self.
“Therefore, I champion others, those who I work with, those who I mentor to do the same, be you, be authentic and know that you are limitless.”
You're doing such incredible work. What tangible change are you most proud of or pleased with since the launch of Black Lives In Music? Can you tell us how you achieved it?
“I think that organisations and the industry at large are beginning to see the intersection of race and gender and they are doing something about it. To see Black women in positions of leadership and influencing strategy in the music industry is the thing I am most pleased about. But we need many more women in decision making roles to really see a music industry that truly thrives.
“I am also thrilled our work has reached Government level. We can now make an impact from the top, or at least I hope we can... stay tuned.
“We use data and advocacy to make an impact and work with organisations who are ready to be the change the industry needs to see.”
A lot of important conversations have come to the fore in the music industry since The Show Must Be Paused, but are there any specific issues with inequality and discrimination that you still feel are slipping through the cracks/not being given enough attention?
“Disability. Especially being Black and disabled and trying to navigate in an industry which is ill-equipped and uninformed is leaving Black and disabled or neurodivergent people feeling invisible and unable to progress. BLIM is publishing a report in partnership with Attitude Is Everything to highlight the issues Black and disabled people face whilst trying to navigate through the industry. I hope the industry pays attention and makes the necessary steps towards change.”
Seeing Black women in positions of leadership is the thing I am most pleased about
What advice would you offer young women about enjoying a successful career in music?
“Dance in the moment, enjoy the journey and remember you are limitless.”
What’s the best advice you’ve ever had?
“Serve your apprenticeship. You are here to learn. I apply this at every level in my career.”
What’s your biggest lesson from 2022 so far?
“To honour your peers and friends in the industry. You wouldn't be here without them. Also, opening the door and providing a platform for the next generation, that way the cycle continues.”