Welcome to Musicians In Solidarity! What started as a Facebook group aimed at calling out industry entities that do not stand in solidarity with BIPOC has morphed into a full fledged non-profit, providing equitable platforms, building equity training materials for existing music entities and providing much needed support and infrastructure for BIPOC individuals seeking to open their own music businesses.
On May 25th 2020, George Floyd (46) took his last breath under the boot of a police officer. A bystander caught this entire situation on camera and within days the whole nation had seen this poor man begging for his life, uttering the all too familiar words that he could not breathe.
The nation was hurting and social media was ablaze with calls to actions, statements of solidarity, horrific imagery of George Floyd’s last moments and pleas to remember the victims, to say their names. For so many of us, this was an indescribably painful time, overwhelming and angering. More and more people began speaking out, politicians, celebrities, athletes and corporations. As a musician, I found myself infuriated at the lack of empathy coming from the music industry. Venues I had played dozens of times, festivals that I raged at with my band, stores where I bought my gear, all very silent. Very few mentions of the horrors the Black community was facing, very few statements expressing solidarity with BIPOC citizens. I found myself completely incensed.
Anger is a funny thing, my first thought was to call each and every one of these entities out and somehow make the pay. I created a Facebook group and invited every musician I knew. I wanted to hold people accountable, I wanted to burn the whole system down and I wanted my friends to help me do it.
Three months later and none of those feelings are gone, but the reactionary response has faded to a commitment to create the change that I wanted to see, and an amazing group of people emerged willing to help actualize the shared vision of enacting real change within the music industry.
The group that originally started as a callout platform, morphed into a supportive community happy to uplift BIPOC voices. The moderator team became the board to the nonprofit, without their diligent work and passion, we would never have gotten as far as we have. Folx stepped forward willing to use their talents to support the message and the cause. Our community is constantly growing and thriving, and we have serious work to do. The road is long and arduous but important. The Musicians In Solidarity board has been meeting weekly, working to build programs that will have a long term effect on our musical community.
We are working to provide platforms for artists, centered around amplifying BIPOC voices. We are working to develop equity training programs for existing musical entities that want to stand in solidarity beyond the optics of social media.