Charisse Beaumont, chief executive and co-founder of Black Lives In Music, and Roger Wilson, musician, lecturer, and Black Lives In Music co-founder and managing director, both received University of West London (UWL) honorary doctorates at its summer 2023 ceremony.
Beaumont and Wilson were both awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music, received at UWL’s 2023 ceremony held at Twickenham stadium.
Beaumont and Wilson set up Black Lives in Music (BLiM) to achieve equality for Black musicians and professionals through research and advocacy. The organisation works to combat racism, uniting organisations and musicians to create a truly inclusive and diverse music industry.? BLiM is dedicated to addressing better representation and equality of opportunity throughout the music industry for Black, Asian, and ethnically diverse people aspiring to be artists or professionals.
Upon receiving her honorary doctorate, Charisse Beaumont said: “My goal in life is to make a positive impact in the world by helping people through my work in music. Find your sweet spot, identify that spark that motivates you and drives you, believe in yourself always, trust your instincts, break past the barriers that may be in front of you and do not let anyone tell you no.”
In his speech, Wilson thanked his ‘spiritual sister’ Beaumont, adding: “Thirty years ago, I attended a higher education institution where I did not feel I belonged. I was one of only three people of colour. Every day was a struggle, and yet every day was a personal victory. By working with talented young undergraduates, I am reminded regularly that I never attended my own graduation day – it just wasn’t for me. Well, I am here today amongst friends, family, and a wonderful group of people. By bestowing me with this honour, you have all really helped me to put something right.”
Dr Sara McGuiness, associate professor at London College of Music, said: “Charisse is a formidable and vital force on the UK Music scene. She founded Black Lives in Music, which is made up of several partners who are all working towards the same goal: to dismantle structural racism in our industry. We at UWL are delighted to have this year become one of Black lives In Music’s partner organisations.
Dr McGuiness added: “Undoubtedly, Roger’s extensive experience of the UK music industry and music education has provided him with a deep understanding of the issues and obstacles that need to be overcome if there is to be true inclusivity and equality in the UK music industry.”
In 2023, Black Lives In Music was listed by the US media giant Fast Company, as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Music alongside Tunecore, Warner and Universal Music.