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Rio Ferdinand Backs Plan To Tackle Racism In Music Industry

UK Music and UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce is calling for greater transparency in the battle to boost diversity and inclusion across the music business and creative industries.

The call came as the collective voice for the music industry and its Diversity Taskforce published their new report, Moving the Dial on Diversity, to examine progress over the last year.

The new report builds on the publication in October 2020 of UK Music’s Ten-Point Plan, which outlined the clear steps needed to make the music industry a diverse, inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone working in the sector.

It reveals that, while UK Music’s 10 member organisations have made strong progress towards the targets set out in the Ten-Point Plan, more work is needed to deliver sustainable change and ensure the sector truly reflects its audiences.

The report outlines a series of key areas where more work is needed as part of the music industry’s determination to lead the way for the creative industries in fighting racism and boosting diversity.

The recommendations include the need for greater transparency around data to help highlight areas where more work is needed, more clarity from Government on reporting standards linked to ethnicity, and more investment from companies in music in diversity and inclusion.

Writing in the report, football legend and diversity champion, Rio Ferdinand welcomed the progress made by the music industry and outlined how the sector could drive change right across the creative industries, sport and wider society.

The former England and Manchester United star revealed how music plays an important role in his Rio Ferdinand Foundation, a youth and community development charity working in some of the UK’s most disadvantaged communities.

“Music has always been a major passion of mine; it’s been the soundtrack to my life and the backing track to my fitness regimes,” said Ferdinand.

“It has also been a key area of work for my Foundation who recognise that music, along with sport, is a key cultural driver for young people in terms of voice, aspiration, and personal development.

“I’ve enjoyed listening and watching great music from afar like most people, but the killing of George Floyd and the outpouring of self-reflection from several industries made me look deeper into the role music can play and how all these new pledges for change would manifest themselves in the future.

“I’ve always felt that accountability must cut across all industries, but at the core of these issues is you cannot have change in diversity without complete transparency.

“What this progress report shows is a willingness for the music industry to listen to colleagues from diverse communities and act - not only benchmark themselves but move the dial in a respectful manner. Taking the learnings from these past 12 months, we need to do more over the next 10 years. In music, just as in football, and in life, we need to unite in diversity.”

“Our Taskforce is delighted in the way we have been able to embed over the past year the UK Music Ten-Point Plan as the industry standard baseline for strategic action on equality, diversity and inclusion,” added UK Music diversity taskforce chair Ammo Talwar.

“Our new report outlines some very positive progress in the music industry, which we hope can lead the way for the creative industries and workplaces everywhere when it comes to bringing about lasting change.

“A key part of that involves gathering more data to help improve our understanding of why exclusion is happening in so many workplaces. Our goal is to make the music industry fairer for everyone.”

UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin added:

“The music industry is bursting with talent and potential. We need to ensure that everyone from every part of the UK and from every background gets the opportunity to join this fantastic sector.

“The music industry continues to make great strides. Our report shines the spotlight on some of the positive changes we have achieved, but also highlights the areas where more work is needed to deliver real equality of opportunity.”