You can guarantee at least two music debates to appear on Black British Twitter’s timeline almost every month: why the UK ‘failed’ certain homegrown black singers like Beverly Knight and Mischa B, and the industry’s apparent colourism issue.
Far less discussed is the experience of Black British women working behind the industry scenes. I’m a music geek and, bar a handful of radio presenters like BBC Radio 1’s Clara Amfo and Capital Xtra’s Remel – I’d struggle to name one Black British woman in the industry who wasn’t a musician.
You may forgive my ignorance when you look at the stats. Despite the significant influence of black artists on the UK music industry – now valued at £5.2bn – BAME employees make up less than 18% of its workforce, according to a 2018 report by the UK Music Diversity Taskforce. It’s a less bleak picture when you look at gender, with an almost even split between male and female employees.
But what about workers that hold black and female identities – characteristics that we know all too well can afford us a unique experience compared to our male or non-white counterparts? I spoke to four black women making big moves in the sector to find out more.