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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 on Friday 28 July.

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 is at the vanguard of the effort 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 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: “30 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 of Beaumont, “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.”

Speaking about Wilson, Dr Sara 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.”

Beaumont is a true phenomenon in the UK music sector. She was inducted into the Music Week Women in Music roll of honour in 2022 and, in addition to her work with BLiM, Beaumont serves on the board of Help Musicians and the LIVE Group, and also sits on the advisory committee at War Child UK.

Wilson is a champion of social justice. His experience is on both sides of the stage as a musician, educator, tour manager and administrator.  As an instrumental teacher and lecturer, Roger has worked throughout the UK music education sector at all levels, in recent years focusing on the professional development of aspiring young jazz musicians. Also a conservatoire trained musician, Wilson has worked extensively in the commercial, jazz, and classical sectors with a wide range of artists from Lesley Garett and Bryn Terfel to James Brown and Quincy Jones.

In October 2021, Black Lives in Music commissioned a survey on the personal experience of Black music creators and industry professionals. The ground-breaking report Being Black in the UK music industry achieved over 3000 downloads in just one week.

Their Unseen Unheard report is a groundbreaking collaboration with Attitude is Everything, bringing together extensive survey findings and first-hand insights of intersectional prejudice. It revealed that Black disabled people working in music appear to face pronounced challenges in terms of opportunities and funding. 91% of survey respondents are dissatisfied with current levels of industry support.

Black Lives in Music recently gave evidence at the Women and Equalities select committee’s misogyny in music inquiry and are also a part of the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA) set up team. As a result, they have recorgnised a need to carry out more research on Bullying and Harassment in the UK Music Industry.

The survey will launch in August 2023 and the data and insights will be used to support the work of CIISA and the wider music industry, plus the forthcoming Anti Racist Code of Conduct and toolkit, which will work towards eradicating discrimination, bullying and harassment throughout the music ecosystem. The findings will be published in November 2023

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.




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