Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC), an advocacy organization formed to address systemic racism in the music business, announced the honorees for its second annual Music in Action Awards Gala, which is set to take place on Thursday, Sept. 22 at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif.
This year’s honorees include:
Jon “Big Jon” Platt, chairman and CEO of Sony Music Publishing, with the Clarence Avant Trailblazer Award
Kevin Liles, chairman and CEO of 300 Elektra Entertainment, along with Amazon Music and the Recording Academy, with the BMAC Social Impact Award
Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, attorney and author Brittany K. Barnett, and Cultural Creators’ Joi Brown, with the BMAC Change Agent Award
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), with the inaugural BMAC Icon Award
“Activism is a daily decision to stand up for what’s right. … It’s the willingness to speak truth to power, unapologetically,” Willie “Prophet” Stiggers, BMAC co-founder/co-chair, said in a statement. “Each of our 2022 Music in Action Award honorees embodies this spirit. BMAC is an organization formed to hold our industry accountable to its pledge to fight systemic racism and will applaud and celebrate those using their voice, platform, and resources to move past performative gestures of solidarity, but real action that will lead to sustainable change.”
Several of the honorees also released statements.
“Clarence Avant is an extremely significant person in my life, so to be bestowed with the BMAC Trailblazer Award in his name is a special honor,” said Platt. “Clarence blazed a trail that continues to inspire so many of us, and I appreciate BMAC for following his path towards equality in the music business.”
“In the 35 years I have spent in our industry, I have tried to make every decision and every movement intentional with the overarching goal of social justice and equality,” said Liles. “It is my mission to bring about change so that boardrooms reflect the music that is being released. I am honored and humbled to receive BMAC’s Social Impact Award and am excited to continue the conversation and bring about necessary change in our industry.”
“We are absolutely humbled to receive the Social Impact Award from the Black Music Action Coalition,” said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, and co-presidents Valeisha Butterfield Jones and Panos A. Panay. “We – as an organization and new leadership team – are committed to the long-term, systemic work that needs to be done to drive real and measurable change in our industry and across the globe. … The power of music and our role in driving equity in and for Black music at the Recording Academy is a responsibility that we take seriously. We look forward to continuing this necessary work with BMAC and our industry partners.”
“Amazon Music is honored to be a part of BMAC’s annual Music in Action Awards Gala and to receive their Social Impact Award,” said Tim Hinshaw, head of hip-hop and R&B for Amazon Music. “Black musicians, songwriters, and executives are the heart of this industry, and we are honored to be working with BMAC to ensure the next generation of Black talent have the support necessary to flourish.”
The Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award recipient will be announced later this month. Additional award recipients, participants and event details will be announced in the coming weeks.
Honorees at the inaugural Music in Action Awards Gala in 2021 included The Weeknd, H.E.R., Ethiopia Habtemariam, Tuma Basa, attorney Ben Crump, Dina LaPolt, Aurora James, YouTube Music and Shawn Gee.
The Black Music Action Coalition board includes Stiggers, Caron Veazey, Ashaunna Ayars, Naima Cochrane, Jamil Davis, Shawn Holiday, Damien Smith, and Courtney Stewart. The BMAC advisory board includes Avant, Jones and Irving Azoff.
In addition to honoring the award recipients, this year’s event will celebrate the organization’s accomplishments and highlight upcoming initiatives. In 2021, the organization launched the inaugural Music Industry Action Report Card, which is a measure of accountability and a call to action to the music industry for Black executives, artists, vendors, and stakeholders to have a voice, visibility, participation and ownership on par with the revenue generated from Black music and culture.
Additionally, BMAC partnered with #BreatheWithMe, NOWTHIS, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Summer Walker, Khalid, Ty Dolla $ign, T.I. and others to create “17 Ways Black People Can Be Killed in America,” a call to action for the Biden administration to launch the U.S. Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Commission. In May, BMAC partnered with Wasserman Music and the commercial music program at Tennessee State University for a three-week music accelerator program. The group also launched its COVID Relief Fund for Black creatives and industry professionals whose income was impacted by the pandemic. Most recently, BMAC worked alongside U.S. Representatives Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) to establish the Restoring Artistic Protection Act (RAP Act) which would protect recording artists from the use of their lyrics against them in criminal and civil proceedings.
The 2022 Gala will also commemorate this year’s Music Industry Action Report Card, which is set for release later this month, and spotlight the 2023 launch of the Transformational Support program which will guarantee basic income for 40 Black Nashville-based artists, creators and aspiring managers.
For more information regarding Black Music Action Coalition and the Music In Action Awards Gala, visit bmacoalition.org.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.