UMG’S TASK FORCE FOR MEANINGFUL CHANGE
UMG’S TASK FORCE FOR MEANINGFUL CHANGE
A driving force for equality and social justice, the Task Force for Meaningful Change (TFMC) works to amplify and expand UMG’s current programs, devise new initiatives and support marginalized communities in the ongoing fight for equality, justice and inclusion. Our work is divided into six areas, including:
- Aid/Charitable Giving
We support initiatives with organizations working in areas such as: economic empowerment and business development; housing; legal services and bail; mental health services; legislative reform; physical health services; and voting resources and education.
Acknowledging that racism, intolerance and bias know no borders, we are identifying and adopting global policies and initiatives to address equality, bias, equity and inclusion efforts for all UMG offices and their communities around the world.
- Internal/Institutional Change
We examine UMG’s workforce policies and procedures, and work environment. This includes identifying areas to improve access, recruitment, advancement and retention of a diverse workforce at all levels within the company but with a focus on leadership positions and other senior-level roles.
We work closely with UMG HR’s Diversity & Inclusion team to continue its ongoing efforts and build upon the company’s partnership with USC Annenberg’s Inclusion Initiative.
- Legislative/Public Policy
We pursue constructive social change by supporting public policies via: Federal, state and local legislation to challenge laws and regulations that promote bias and systemic discrimination; and voter education, registration and participation.
UMG has a history of investing in, and partnering with, entrepreneurs who have grown their business out of the community, building some of the most impactful and dynamic voices in entertainment today. Working alongside our partners in their focused efforts to initiate and support change in their communities, we reap the benefit of their insights, which help us continue to grow our own efforts in the fight for justice and equality.
Just as music connects people around the world, our goal is to promote dialogue and understanding through speaker fora, counseling, and educational and creative programming focused on the themes of tolerance, equality and inclusion – especially around the intersection of Black Music, art, lifestyle, fashion, technology and creators, as well as celebrating Black artists and creators, and conducting thoughtful discussions on current events.
We will continue to expand upon UMG HR’s Diversity & Inclusion programming, including their Belonging Table town hall series about diversity and inclusion and other series bringing outside experts to address relevant topics, ranging from economic empowerment and business development, mental health and voting.
WHO WE ARE
We are a group of professionals from across UMG – including our corporate center, labels and companies around the globe.
Jeff Harleston, General Counsel and EVP of Business & Legal Affairs, UMG and Interim Chairman and CEO, Def Jam
Ethiopia Habtemariam, Chairman and CEO, Motown Records
Eric Hutcherson, EVP and Chief People and Inclusion Officer, UMG
Dr. Menna Demessie, Senior Vice President and Executive Director, TFMC
|Alex Boateng, Co-President, 0207 Def Jam, UMG UK
Amaiya Davis, Media Manager, Republic Records
Amber Grimes, SVP Global Creative, Capitol Music Group
Annie Imamura, VP Global Communications, UMG
Ana Fonseca, VP Business Affairs, UMG Brazil
Bill Evans, SVP Urban Promotions, Capitol Music Group
Brian Nolan, EVP, Capitol Music Group
Britney Davis, VP of Artist Relations, Marketing & Special Projects, CMG
Cara Donatto, EVP Head of Media Strategy, Interscope Geffen A&M
Chelsea Hannah, °1824 Representative, UMG
Chonita Floyd, VP Marketing, Verve Records
Damion Presson, SVP Artist Relations, Republic Records
Darcus Beese, President & CEO, Island Records
Don Was, President, Blue Note Records
Eric Hutcherson, EVP, Chief People & Inclusion Officer
Evan Lamberg, President, North America, UMPG
Jacqueline Eyewe, Marketing Director, 0207 Def Jam
Jeff Burroughs, SVP Marketing, Def Jam
Jeff Vaughn, Chairman & CEO, Capitol Music Group
Jessamine Clavero, Social Brand Specialist, Motown
Kardinal Offishall, Sr. Director A&R, UMG Canada
Katina Bynum, EVP Urban, UMe
|LaTrice Burnette, EVP & GM, Island Records, 4th & Broadway
Liliahn Majeed, SVP, Chief Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Officer
Magda Vives, SVP Legal & Business Affairs for Latin America
Marleny Reyes, SVP Marketing, Republic Records
Naim McNair, SVP A&R, UMG and Def Jam Recordings
Naledi Seck, Director Diversity & Inclusion, UMG
Natina Nimene, SVP Urban Promotions, Def Jam Recordings
Nicole Wyskoarko, EVP, Co-Head of A&R, Interscope Geffen A&M
Niya Fleming, A&R Coordinator, Def Jam Recordings
Rodney Shealey, EVP, Def Jam Recordings
Sam Taylor, EVP A&R, Republic Records
Sipho Dlamini, CEO, South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa, UMG
Sickamore, SVP, A&R , Interscope Geffen A&M
Steve Carless, EVP A&R, President, Republic Records
Stephen Francis, Sr Manager Global Finance, UMPG
Tim Glover, SVP, A&R, Interscope Geffen A&M
Walter Jones, Head of West Coast A&R, UMPG
Ziggy Chareton, SVP A&R, Island Records
YOUTH TASK FORCE FOR MEANINGFUL CHANGE
Our Youth Task Force for Meaningful Change (YTFMC) is an extension of the TFMC and comprised of a group of entry-level employees from across Universal Music Group to further amplify young voices on issues of social equality and justice.
|Chelsea Hannah (°1824) – Chair
Niya Fleming (Def Jam)
Jessamine Clavero (Motown)
Allison McAdoo (°1824)
Brandon Weston (°1824)
David Grannum (°1824)
Dejanay Caldwell (°1824)
Jalen Boxley (UMG)
James June (CMG)
Jordan Martin (Motown)
Jorden Durkee (°1824)
Kadijat Salawudeen (°1824)
|Kaylen Simmons (Interscope)
Kgomotso Mokobi (UMG South Africa)
Mikobi N’Dala (°1824)
Monique Teclemariam (Interscope)
Mohammed Kamara (UMe)
Sammi Ryan (°1824)
Simran Ghooi (UMG)
Stephanie Adamu (UMG Nigeria)
Tia Lewis (UMG UK)
Tristan Magloire (Republic)
Walter Bloxton (°1824)
Yemi Faleti (°1824)
WHAT WE DO
Drive UMG’s ongoing programs and develop new ones, including in these selected areas.
- Funding Partners in Social Change
Both through direct funding and by matching employee contributions, we support groups working for social change.
- Fund for Justice.
Through UMG’s All Together Now Foundation, we are funding a range of organizations whose focus includes racial justice, criminal justice reform, legal aid and community support. UMG has provided funding for this phase of investments and will provide additional funding as the Task Force details further plans.
In addition to our long-standing partners, we have provided grants to the following organizations in the U.S.: Amber Charter Schools; Atlanta Public Schools Foundation for Get Our Kids Connected; BEAM (Los Angeles); Black America Music Foundation; Black Girl Ventures; Black Lives Matter; Black Men Heal; Black Mental Health Alliance; Boys & Girls Clubs of America; California Community Foundation; Chicago Public Schools Children First Fund; City Bar Justice Center (New York); City Year New Orleans; Colin Kaepernick Foundation; Color Of Change; Crete Academy; Election Protection; Crisis Assistance Ministry (Charlotte); Ember Charter Schools; Equal Justice Initiative; Families First (Atlanta); Feeding America; Frontline Families Fund; Give Directly; Housing Crisis Center (Dallas); Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles Project Home; Living Legends Foundation; Lower Eastside Girls Club (New York); Loveland Foundation; Lotus House Shelter (Miami); Martha’s Table (Washington DC); Marsha P. Johnson Institute; Melanin Mommies Pittsburgh; Mental Wealth Alliance; The Mentoring Center (Oakland); Modest Needs: My Block, My City, My Hood; National Association of Black Journalists; National LGBT Bar Association; National Urban League; National Independent Venue Association/#SaveOurStages; Safe Haven Family Shelter (Nashville); SEARCH Homeless Houston; Silence the Shame; Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California; Son of a Saint (New Orleans); Star C Eviction Relief (Atlanta); Tamir Rice Foundation; The Bail Project; UMOM New Day Centers (Phoenix); United Community Housing Coalition (Detroit); Voto Latino Foundation; Vox Collegiate (Los Angeles); When We All Vote; and World Central Kitchen.
Along with the following organizations around the world:
Colégio Integral Solar Meninos de Luz
Black Women in Motion
The Cee Centre for Young Black Professionals
NIA Centre for the Arts
TAIBU Community Health Centre
Fundación Bello Oriente
Fundacion Solidaridad y Compromiso
Fundación Origen – Pro Ayuda a la Mujer Origen A.C.
The R.E.A.C.H Nigeria
Federação Portuguesa dos Bancos Alimentares Contra a Fome (Food Bank)
ESCAPE, Centro de Fortalecimiento Familiar
FESBAL (Federación Española de Bancos de Alimentos) (Food Bank)
National School for the Arts (Johannesburg)
*This list will be updated on an ongoing basis.
- Fund for Employee Action.
Through our All Together Now program, UMG matches employees’ qualifying contributions to non-profit groups. Among the top recent recipients of our matching fund program are: ACLU; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Black Lives Matter Fund; King Center for Nonviolent Social Change; Bail Project, Inc.; Southern Poverty Law Center; Minnesota Freedom Fund; Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Northside Achievement Zone; and Race Forward.
- Fund for Justice.
- Making Change Within UMG and the Music Community
We work to achieve greater diversity and inclusion within our own company and community.
- Diversifying Our Employee Population
In order to recruit, retain and promote a more diverse workforce, we launched the UMG Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging team, which partnered with Recruitment, to lead employee diversity & inclusion efforts. Activities have included: D&I training of hiring managers with intentional education addressing unconscious bias; recruiting partnerships at Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs); Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), such as our Black Label Group, to foster community, cultural awareness and inclusion; diverse networking events, such as REVOLT, AFRO Tech & Diversity Reboot Summit; and much, much more.
Click HERE to join our team!
- UPLIFT Mentorship Program
As part of our ongoing efforts to expand our diversity and inclusion programing and initiatives, UMG’s Black Label, the employee resource group celebrating Black culture, in partnership with the TFMC, unveiled the UPLIFT Mentorship Program. UPLIFT was created to foster meaningful and impactful connections within UMG’s Black community, working to build personal and professional development of entry and mid-level employees.
Over the course of one year, mentees will participate in one-on-one mentoring, group mentoring, networking sessions and speed learning activities in addition to receiving articles, books and helpful resources to continue their personal growth.
- Partnering with the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.
UMG is a founding partner of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. Since 2017, the initiative has worked to create measurable change for the representation of women and underrepresented racial and ethnic groups across all areas of the music business.
The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative released its first study on the music business in 2018, which provided needed insight into inclusion in the recording industry. Since then, the Initiative has released additional research exploring disparities in country and Latin genres, and illuminated the barriers facing female songwriters and producers. The Initiative has partnered with She Is The Music, to provide data on women in the music industry and insight into industry solutions. Dr. Stacy L. Smith, the Initiative’s Founder, also served on the Recording Academy Task Force for Diversity and Inclusion, whose equity-based focus has resulted in two years of increased nominations for female artists in key Grammy categories.
On June 26th, we announced the expansion of our partnership with Annenberg to conduct new research – examining major and independent music companies, labels and publishers, digital platforms, radio and live concert companies as well as artists’ teams, focusing on managers, agents, attorneys and publicists – to determine the extent to which men and women of color are excluded from music’s leadership ranks. With this information in hand, Annenberg will issue a report, establishing goals and providing recommendations on how the music industry can address these disparities.
- Diversifying Our Employee Population
- Making Change Through Legislation and Law
We work to help achieve change by actively engaging in civic affairs through civic engagement and voting participation activities.
- Legal Volunteer Action Center.
Organizing UMG legal staff to do pro bono legal work for social justice and criminal justice reform organizations.
- Voter Mobilization and Education.
We support and conduct voter education, registration and mobilization drives, including by:
Partnering with organizations such as When We All Vote, HeadCount, Rock the Vote, Voto Latino and I Am A Voter;
Creating UMG’s own USE YOUR VOICE voter resource campaign, created in partnership with the TFMC, which launched 75 days out from the 2020 U.S. general election on August 20th. Activities included:
#HourofAction! As part of our work with When We All Vote, UMG’s U.S. employees, artists and partners paused normal work activities to engage in voter education and mobilization – including outreach to friends, family and social media followers.
Virtual Canvassing Events. UMG’s °1824 college marketing division led powerful virtual vote canvassing events with DJ’s and special guests encouraging the more than 150 employees who participated to contact roughly 200,000 potential voters across the country with registration and voter information.
Artist Videos with Voter Education. In conjunction with When We All Vote, the TFMC created voter education videos featuring UMG artists such as 2 Chainz.
Pull Up To The Polls. In honor of those throughout our history who fought to win and defend our right to vote, we launched an initiative in partnership with the National Urban League and the Voto Latino Foundation to provide voters rides to the polls on Election Day.
- Legislative Advocacy.
We educate employees on social justice and criminal justice reform efforts and encourage our music community to advocate for priority legislation, such as the “Justice in Policing Act” (see here) and the repeal of New York’s Section 50-A (see here).
- Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference.
Since 2017, UMG has actively participated in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Legislative Conference both to celebrate and lead conversations that are important to the Black Community. Examples include: Events in 2017 with Senator Kamala Harris; 2018 with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY) (including “Artists, Activism and the Criminal Justice System” with UMG’s Jeff Harleston); and 2019 with Rep. Brenda Lawrence and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (including “What’s Going On” with UMG’s Motown Chairman & CEO Ethiopia Habtemariam).
- Legal Volunteer Action Center.
In 2020, UMG and the TFMC organized a series of special programs, discussions and opportunities to celebrate the 50th Annual Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference. The series of events included an interactive recruitment workshop with a competition to win interviews with senior UMG hiring executives, as well as the opportunity for college students to secure 15 year-long mentorship opportunities with a UMG executive. Other events included The Soundtrack to Change: A Discussion on Music and the Social Justice Movement hosted by Republic Records’ Action Committee; Black and Blue, a conversation on the persistent police brutality in Black and Brown communities hosted by Def Jam Forward with special guest Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY); Music Mavens, a discussion among black female senior executives across UMG with special guest Rep. Robin Kelly (IL); and The Art of Black Entrepreneurship & Brand Building, a panel hosted by IGA with special guest Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY).
Educational Programming and Constructive Dialogue
We curate compelling educational programming with notable guest speakers to promote dialogue and inclusion within the UMG community.
- Employee Town Hall Meetings with Guest Speakers
We support the company’s ongoing series of employee Town Hall Meetings with topical speakers to engage the company in valuable dialogue about our society and current events. Speakers have included: former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on encouraging collective civic engagement; U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY) about what’s going on in America today and what Congress might do about it; former White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett about voting in 2020; and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on the city’s history of police and race relations, to name a few.
In consultation with the TFMC, UMG Human Resources conducts several speaker series throughout the year, including “The Belonging Table,” a series on diversity and inclusion, and “Semicolon Sessions” – a two-part series over two weeks, including a session on mental health issues catered towards communities of color that featured a clinical therapist and two artists. Since 2019, Human Resources has held close to 50 employee events, UMG’s labels have also organized programming for employees, such as Island Records’ special Juneteenth discussion on wellness and how Black music has shaped America’s culture.
In the UK, UMG celebrated Black History the month of October 2020 with an extensive schedule of insightful talks, panels, screenings, and much more. Topics include Afrofuturism, the history of Black Britain, the experiences of the Black LGBTQI+ community, the legacy of Island Records and much more. Produced by the UK Task Force for Meaningful Change and Universal Music’s Black Calendar Committee, which was born out of the Task Force to create insightful and explorative moments that celebrate Black culture all year round.
- College Speaker Series on Careers in Music
UMG’s college marketing division, 1824, launched its UMG Master Class series in 2017 highlighting the inner workings of a career in music for minority college students, with a special focus on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 1824 kicked off its first event at New York University with Pusha T, UMG’s SVP of A&R Steven Victor and Ebony Magazine. Since then, it’s held sessions at Howard University, Atlanta University Center – Spelman, Morehouse, Clark Atlanta and Hampton University, among others. A 2018 session at USC featured Motown Chairman & CEO Ethiopia Habtemariam, and singer-songwriters BJ the Chicago Kid and Sebastian Kole.
- HBCU Internship Program
The TFMC established UMG’s Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) summer Internship program for HBCU students and recent graduates, an industry-first partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Named for America’s first African American Supreme Court justice, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College community.
Kicking off in summer of 2021, the program offers HBCU students paid internships across UMG’s labels and business units. In addition to providing financial support to defray interns’ travel and housing expenses, the internships will develop a pipeline of Black talent for future placement in permanent positions across UMG system and give Black music executives meaningful opportunities to help develop future music leaders.
- National School of the Arts (South Africa)
One of that country’s foremost arts education institutions, National School of the Arts (NSA) is a co-educational public school that has produced some of South Africa’s finest talent across the fields of art, dance, drama and music.
The landmark partnership includes the newly renamed “Universal Music Department,” which supports 165 students from Uganda, Zimbabwe, DRC and South Africa, and provides hands-on support from the global music company in the form of resources, classes, industry participation and internships.
- Bridging the Digital Divide
To help provide “digital equity,” TFMC has teamed up with schools, districts, educational nonprofits and Boys & Girls Clubs of America throughout the U.S. to bridge the digital divide through funding for WiFi hotspots, laptops and other essential remote learning accessories for students in need.
Undertaken with our partners Blacksmith, Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment, Dreamville, Grade A Productions, Heavy Group, Hikari Ultra, LVRN, Quality Control, Since the 80’s, South Coast Music Group, Wicked Awesome, XO and Young Money Entertainment, this initiative is proud to support students within 19 Boys & Girls club organizations, 5 School districts, & 5 Charter schools across America.
- Amplifying Artist Voices
The TFMC helps to distribute and amplify artists’ messages on civic engagement and voter mobilization. In this video, UMG artist Stevie Wonder urges fans to get out the vote and engage actively to help make positive change for our communities and nation.
- Promoting Black History
In 2021, Motown Records announced the relaunch of its groundbreaking Black Forum label in collaboration with Motown Museum. Black Forum, which was founded by Motown Corporation and Mr. Berry Gordy in 1971, is world-renowned as a label home for Black spoken-word artists. The partnership will provide a platform for a new generation of writers, thinkers and poets, sparking candid conversation to inspire the next generation of Black history makers through podcasts, community forums, digital initiatives and Motown Museum events and programs. In addition, Black Label will re-issue six of the historic albums on which its legacy was established, beginning with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam.
The announcement follows Motown Records’ celebration of Dr. King’s legacy in the Fall of 2020, where the label released its recording of the 1963 Great March on Washington album digitally for the first time. In tribute to this historic event, Motown launched several digital initiatives, including a sharable video from the Great March on Washington featuring future congressman John Lewis; long unseen footage of Coretta Scott King, Dr King’s widow, on the Ed Sullivan Show; and an exclusive March on Washington playlist featuring tracks by seminal black creators like Kendrick Lamar, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. Ethiopia Habtemariam, Chairman & CEO of Motown Records, spoke with Elvis Mitchell – host of KCRW’s “The Treatment” – about what Dr. King’s speeches mean to her. View their conversation here.
- Partnering with Leading Cultural Institutions
UMG partnered with London’s TATE Modern (2017) and the Brooklyn Museum (2018) on their exhibit “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, 1963-1983.” The exhibition spotlighted era-defining works of painting, sculpture, photography, and performance produced during the decline of the Civil Rights Movement and the rise of Black Power. In New York, Verve Label Group created this playlist. In London, Darcus Beese, President & CEO, Island Records curated a special Music of Black Power playlist, illustrating how music was critical to this movement. You can listen to it here.
- Teaching Students in Local Communities about Music
We work with local programs in our communities to teach high school students about music. In New York, for example, we have participated in career fairs hosted by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Originally created through a partnership between Compton Unified School District and Capitol Music Group (CMG) at Dominguez High School in Los Angeles, the Bonus Tracks program teaches high school students about careers within the music industry through in-person seminars led by CMG executives. Bonus Tracks has since expanded to schools in Nashville (in partnership with Capitol Christian Music Group) and Atlanta (working with Quality Control).
Bonus Tracks not only expands the students’ knowledge and professional development, but also opens doors to careers and networks to which they may not have otherwise had access. The ultimate goal is to increase opportunity and diversity in executive ranks in the music industry – and beyond. Through its work with the program, Capitol also established an annual college scholarship program for students at Dominguez High School.
For general inquiries about the Task Force for Meaningful Change, please email TFMC@umusic.com.