Ballantine’s pledges six-figure True Music Fund to support diversity and inclusion initiatives around the world
After an 18-month live music hiatus, smaller organisations have suffered more than most. Recognising the vital role that global brands working in music culture play in supporting these collectives, Ballantine’s has launched the True Music Fund.
Ballantine’s True Music Fund is designed to support organisations who are actively working to improve diversity and inclusivity, and pushing towards equality in global music culture. The grant recipients were chosen by the six members of the Ballantine's True Music Collective: Jamal Edwards MBE, Chica Gang, Afrobapho, Dope St Jude, Honey Dijon and He.She.They.
The True Music Fund follows on from the release of Ballantine’s ‘Resetting the Dancefloor’ report which revealed 1 in 3 people have been victims of discrimination at live music events. Through this, and a series of initiatives, Ballantine’s aims to shine a light on and tackle issues around diversity and inclusion in music culture and to prompt real change, marking its own commitment to increase equality with action through its True Music platform.
London-based radio station No Signal has been selected by SBTV founder Jamal Edwards MBE. The Black British radio station attracted 129,000 listeners from 129 countries during the first UK coronavirus lockdown and has hosted sets from guests including Jorja Smith, Ray BLK and Richard Blackwood. Taking things further, this year they launched No Signal Academy, a 12-week mentoring program for young Black creatives. The program took 12 participants through key elements of the music industry, covering radio, graphic design, social media and marketing. No Signal plans to use their £10,000 grant to revamp their studio and make improvements to their recording process and guest rosta.
Selected by Madrid-based, all-female collective Chica Gang, Sin Sync is a female and non binary-fronted DJ School in Barcelona that shares the fundamentals of DJing with interested beginners. Founded by Venezuelan/Chilean artist and DJ Isamit Morales, the program hosts 20-30 people every month. Sessions alternate between theory and practise with a unique approach designed to share the necessary skills for DJs to hone their skills outside the colonial and heteronormative perspectives.
Brazilian LGBTQIA+ dance collective Afrobapho have awarded a grant to another Brazilian collective, Bloco Afro Os Negões. The collective work to combat inequality and racism against the Afro-Brazilian community in Brazil. They create social, educational and cultural programs leading to professional qualifications and improved prospects for their community.
Find out more on the Bloco Afro Os Negões Instagram.
Dope St Jude’s selection for the True Music Grant is Bridges For Music. The well-established organisation has been connecting key music industry stakeholders — everyone from Richie Hawtin to Ed Sheeran — to use the power of music to support developing countries. Their stated mission aims to inspire younger generations and provide opportunities for people to earn a better life through music. They believe that by connecting international talent with disadvantaged communities and bringing people from different walks of life together they can inspire positive change. They host a five-month program on music and entrepreneurship that has been designed by top educators and industry leaders.
Find out more on the Bridges For Music website.
Poland-based Bal U Bozeny have been awarded a grant by events collective He.She.They. The collective from Warsaw promote voguing events in the city that are popular amongst the LGBTQ+ community. Tasked with providing safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community, Bal U Bozeny strive to create an escape from the everyday through celebrations of self expression and joy through dance.