Sony Music UK has announced seven new organisations that will receive funding from its UK Social Justice Fund, part of the global Sony Music Group commitment to support anti-racist initiatives and educational opportunities in under-served communities.
Grantees funded in this round tackle a range of social justice issues, from broadening access to education and skills, to improving representation, to providing holistic support for people of colour.
Programmes range from widening access to music studios for young people nationwide with Pirate Studios, to providing career opportunities through tailored music industry apprenticeships with Small Green Shoots (pictured), to an initiative led by broadcaster and DJ Jaguar Bingham to improve gender diversity and representation in dance music.
On criminal justice reform, grantees include the Irene Taylor Trust Sounding Out programme, targeting rehabilitation through music, and StopWatch’s Rights And Wellbeing initiative that supports families dealing with the impacts of ‘stop and search’ policies.
To boost representation, other grants cover the creation of more commemorative plaques honouring people of colour through the Nubian Jak Community Trust and support for children and young people to learn about the healing power of nature through the Flock Together Academy.
The partnerships will launch in April 2021, with a third round of funding in June.
Jason Iley, chairman and CEO, Sony Music UK & Ireland, said: “Sony Music has made a commitment to challenge systemic problems of discrimination, racism and injustice with our Social Justice Fund. In the UK the fund brings together a diverse team from across the company to channel support to organisations that tackle difficult issues in original and impactful ways. We are proud to partner with each organisation and look forward to working together to amplify the important causes and communities they serve.”
Sony Music has made a commitment to challenge systemic problems of discrimination, racism and injustice with our Social Justice Fund
Jaguar, host of BBC Introducing Dance on Radio 1, who is working to increase diversity in dance music, said: “The dance industry is dominated by men but there is an opportunity right now to achieve gender equality if we can encourage a new wave of women and other under- represented genders to step forward. The support for the Jaguar Foundation from Sony Music will help us set plans in motion for forward-thinking initiatives to diversify dance music.”
These beneficiaries join six others funded in 2020, including a new scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music with mentorship from Sony Classical composer and pianist Alexis Ffrench, Nao’s 3T programme, and backing for projects run by the Young Urban Arts Foundation, Milk Honey Bees, Bruce Grove Youth Space in Tottenham and youth offenders charity Key4Life.
Eva Hamilton, founder of Key4Life, which is dedicated to reducing reoffending through rehabilitation and job training, said: “The life-changing funding we’ve received from Sony Music has enabled us to help more young men who have been to prison or are at risk of going to prison go through our 7-step programme. Ultimately, we aim to help them onto a positive path and into employment, which we know is the single most effective route to break the cycle of reoffending.”
Social Justice Fund beneficiaries are chosen by a diverse advisory board representing labels and divisions across Sony Music UK, from label presidents to members of Sony Music’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee, HUE (Helping Unite Everyone).