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About us

Talent is distributed evenly, opportunities are not! Black Lives in Music addresses the current inequality of opportunity for Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse people aspiring to be artists or professionals in the Jazz and Classical music industry. Black Lives in Music believes in real equality for Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse people to learn musical instruments at grassroots level and to allow them to pursue and realise their musical ambitions.

Black Lives in Music is made up of a number of partners who are all working towards the same goal: to dismantle structural racism in our industry. We aim to support the industry in providing better professional opportunities. We also want to achieve equality for Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse professionals at all levels and in all areas of the UK Jazz and Classical industry. Representation matters, we need to take action together and create a level playing field for everyone to have an equal chance to succeed.

Black Lives in Music stands for equal opportunities – for Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse people to be able to work successfully in the UK music industry without being the subject of discrimination.

There's work to do!
Charisse Beaumont

Charisse Beaumont

Chief Executive

As Chief Executive of Black Lives in Music, Charisse Beaumont is at the forefront of championing equality for Black musicians and professionals in the music industry. The organisation, boasting 90+ UK music industry partners, recently conducted a pivotal survey resulting in the widely-downloaded report 'Being Black in the UK Music Industry.' With 18+ years of expertise, Charisse played a key role in presenting evidence at the UK Government Women and Equalities Select Committee. Black Lives in Music's impactful initiatives earned them recognition from 'Fast Company' as a Top 10 Most Innovative Company in Music. Charisse is a formidable and vital force on the UK Music scene. This is reflected in her being inducted into the Music Week Women in Music roll of honour in 2022 and she also holds the esteemed title of AIM Independent Music Awards Diversity Champion. In addition to her work with Black Lives in Music, Charisse serves on the board of Help Musicians and the LIVE Group. She also chairs the LIVE Group EDI workforce committee and sits on the advisory committee at War Child UK.

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Roger Wilson

Roger Wilson

Director of Operations

Roger Wilson has many years of experience on both sides of the stage as musician, educator, tour manager and administrator. Conservatoire trained, he has worked extensively in the commercial, jazz and classical sector with a wide range of artists from Lesley Garett and Bryn Terfel to James Brown and Quincey Jones. He has also played in some of London’s most successful music theatre productions.  As an instrumental teacher and lecturer, Roger has worked throughout the UK music education sector at all levels. In recent years, he has been dedicated in his support for the professional development of aspiring young jazz musicians.

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Cecilia Aronsson

Cecilia Aronsson

Executive Assistant

Cecilia Aronsson is a proactive Executive Assistant with a BA (Hons) in Commercial Music from University of Westminster. Aronsson has spent over a decade working in office support within the Music, Media and Creative industries in London, leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) being a former employer. With a strong passion for music and commitment to equality and diversity, Cecilia is the perfect fit to join the Black Lives in Music team to achieve change in the UK Music Industry.

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Banita Wheatley-Holmes

Banita Wheatley-Holmes

Assistant to the Director of Operations

Banita Wheatley-Holmes is an oboist and composer who recently graduated with a Master's degree (Mmus) in Classical Music Performance. Since graduating, her compositions have been showcased at venues such as the Wigmore Hall. She is also a member of the Chineke! Orchestra, a leading orchestra advocating diversity in classical music. Banita's enthusiasm for celebrating and improving inclusivity and representation extends to her role in Black Lives in Music, where she assists the Director of Operations and manages projects that provide equal opportunities for musicians from diverse backgrounds. Her efforts contribute to the ongoing transformation of the classical music world.

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Preeya Anand

Preeya Anand

Head of Partnerships and Development

Since 2010 Preeya has developed and delivered expertise in philanthropic funding, project, and event management, including having worked on 8-figure, multi-million pound higher education campaigns, to creating leadership training opportunities for grassroots community sports leaders. Her specialisms are in relationship management, donor communications, fundraising, and the development of programmes for social change.

From 2020 her professional focus has been towards supporting Black and Global Majority charity leaders in the UK and West Africa - particularly where the intersection of arts, music, culture, and heritage meet. In her spare time she employs her other skills as a Reiki Practitioner, and supports smaller charities or music professionals with consultancy services.

“From growing up with my Dad as an East African born, South Asian musician I’ve always had a great love and respect for the power of music, and also know from first-hand experience how inequitable the third sector can be. The way I knew I could make a difference was to share and utilise my charity and relationship management expertise to support Black and Global Majority leaders like Roger and Charisse, who are so committed to delivering racial equity in the music industry. I want to improve the experience of those that come after me, so as not to suffer the same lived experiences in their chosen profession. No one deserves to be treated differently or disrespectfully based on their heritage, where they were born, how they look.”

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Kieran Bryant

Kieran Bryant

Senior Project Manager

Kieran’s role entails keeping special projects and campaigns on track for BLIM with an element of relationship management.

His previous roles has seen him working within the music industry managing and co managing artists, curating Black live music experiences across Europe and heading up partnerships & projects for Tottenham Hotspur. He has a magical way of building key relationships and getting things done!

With his wealth of experience, passion for people and making a difference, Kieran joined BLIM in 2022 to contribute to the already successful work that has been done and to help the team drive forward to greater heights.

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Sonia Watson-Fowler

Sonia Watson-Fowler

Relationship Manager

Sonia Watson-Fowler (she/her) is a consultant, writer, and performer. Founder of Inclusive Communication Consultancy (ICC), she provides executive and education Equitable Practice and Effective Communication consultancy, workshops, mentoring, conflict mediation services and coaching, as well as creative writing sessions to UK and international clients. Sonia is also a Trustee of Bird College Conservatoire for Dance and Musical Theatre and is Factory International’s Equalities & Representation Manager.

Working with BLiM, Sonia wants to help drastically improve the experience of Black artists in music and galvanise organisations to see the power of their accountability and transparency with genuine dedication to anti-racism and intersectional inclusion.

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Kuumba Nia

Kuumba Nia

Relationship Manager

With a wide professional background in race equality, Kuumba is committed to BLiM's groundbreaking efforts to rectify the unequal treatment of Black and global majority individuals within the music sector.

As a qualified Leadership Mentor and Executive Coach, Kuumba brings two decades of experience as a Personal Development Coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Her passion for fostering positive change extends beyond conventional boundaries, aligning seamlessly with BLiM's mission to create an inclusive and equitable music industry.

Kuumba Nia's unique blend of expertise enables her to contribute significantly to the transformative work undertaken by BLiM. Whether championing race equality or guiding individuals towards personal and professional growth, she embodies the values and aspirations that define Black Lives in Music's impactful journey towards a more just and harmonious industry.

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Mahaliah Edwards

Mahaliah Edwards

BLiM Diversity Practitioner / Relationship Manager

Mahaliah is a violinist, experienced educator and community musician. Mahaliah has built a varied portfolio career, leading workshops and also working as an advocate for music education and social change, working with AYM, Sistema European Youth Orchestra and Ifa Yoruba Contemporary Arts Trust. In 2017 she was awarded the Be Inspired Youth Award by the Association of Jamaican Nationals. Mahaliah is an alumni trustee for AYM and a board member for ISM.  She sits on the Team Teach PGCEi advisory board for Music Masters, London.

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Mica Sefia

Mica Sefia

Ambassador

Mica Sefia is a singer / songwriter originally from Liverpool. She is a Leeds Conservatoire alumni student now working for the conservatoire as their EDI project Co-ordinator as well as working with Black Lives in music as an Ambassador. Mica uses her experience as a Black woman in the music industry to educate others and create safe spaces and opportunities for those who may not always be considered. She believes it is important for all the factors to be considered when entering a space. Working towards having policies in place works effectively to insure everybody can have an enjoyable experience no matter what environment they are in or what path of life they come from.

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Carol Leeming MBE FRSA

Ambassador

Carol Leeming MBE FRSA, from Leicester, of Jamaican parentage, is an acclaimed international music artist, with major hit records, hailed as polymath by academics. A successful über diva singer-songwriter, UK pioneer of British House music. Other roles include, composer, music director, conductor/band leader, studio producer, vocal coach, and musician (percussion/keyboards). Some genres are, Nu Jazz, Soul Funk, Psychedelia, Folk Roots and Classical. With writing commissions, and leadership of large music ensembles, Sankofa and Cosmocular. Leicester. Carol is a curator, programming all Black Women music line ups, for launch events Festival 2 Funky Leicester. A role she has had for 11years. Carol was a BBC Proms trainee and worked on Proms 60 The Dream Prom Royal Albert Hall in 2022. A consultant for Music Education, her focus is Decolonising Music Curriculums, and Health & Well-Being. A Leicester University Panel Member for Music Scholarships. Carol is a member of national organisations: BLiM; Black Lives in Music; Women in Jazz; Media; The F-List and Women in Ctrl.

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