Sony Music UK artist Nao has welcomed the successful launch of her new 3T course aimed at offering opportunities to black women in the live sector.
Staged in collaboration with Mura Masa and with funding from Sony Music UK and Native Management, the course launched in July this year. Nao has previously spoken to Music Week about a lack of industry opportunities, and has now celebrated the first wave of 3T graduates.
“For years we’d spoken about adding more black women to our touring party, but we literally couldn’t find a single one for any of the technical roles,” Nao said.
“Spurred on by what was happening around Black Lives Matter, we decided to stop talking about it and do something. As it turned out, there was no lack of women wanting to work in these roles, quite the opposite! They just couldn’t see a way in. It’s made me so happy to open that door a little and our great hope is that this group of amazing women then smash it down for the next generation.”
There was no lack of women wanting to work in these roles, quite the opposite!
Mura Masa added: “As a crew on my show, we had always privately discussed the lack of representation within the pool of people working in live music, so this course became an actionable way of us working to correct that. There was an awful lot of posturing and performative support earlier this year around the initial BLM protests, so we as a group wanted to go further and investigate how we could support a message of anti-racism within our discipline. I came in for a Q&A session during the first week of the course and re-joined for the penultimate week and seeing the progression and skill in this group of women made me thrilled to be a small part of it. This is the first step in a continuing and exciting journey for them, and hopefully a step in the direction of a wider change that the industry desperately needs to undergo. I’m so looking forward to seeing these women killing it on the road!”
This inspires us to do as much as we can to make our industry inclusive and open to all
Damaris Rex Taylor
Damaris Rex Taylor, director of marketing at RCA UK and a leader for Sony Music UK’s Social Justice Fund, said: "We are always keen to support our artists and this idea really stood out. It's been a pleasure to partner with Nao, Mura Masa and Native Management on 3T – meeting the women and listening to how helpful they've found the course inspires us to do as much as we can to make our industry inclusive and open to all."
The free 12-week course is designed to provide technical touring skills and aims to increase confidence and provide visibility for black women pursuing a career in the live sector.
When submissions opened, the scheme received more than 500 applications in less than eight hours. This month, 10 chosen applicants became the first set of students to graduate.
Guest speakers included: Nao, Mura Masa, Damaris Rex-Taylor, Trevor Williams, Alexandra Ampofo, Whitney Boateng, Giles Kwakeulati King-Ashong, Kojo Samuel, Franki McDade, Tori Lucion, Ben Jackson, Selena Dion and Alex Cerutti amongst others.
The course was supported by stakeholders from across the business, with a total of 46 individuals and 17 companies contributing time and resource. Funding came from Native Management, Sony Music UK, Nao, Mura Masa and other private individuals.