UMG launches social justice youth task force in honor of the late John Lewis
Universal Music Group developed a Youth Task Force for Meaningful Change (YTFMC) to honor the late statesman, civil rights leader, and US House Representative, John Lewis.
The YTFMC is an offshoot of Task Force for Meaningful Change (TFMC) which launched globally June 4, co-chaired by Jeff Harleston and Ethiopia Habtemariam. The group is compromised of 24, “dedicated, entry-level employees” from UMG’s °1824—a body of student employees from an array of college campuses, working in creative and marketing roles, and others across the company’s labels to address equality, diversity, inclusion and social justice concerns across the company and the industry at large.
In a quote to Billboard from Habtemariam references Lewis’ chairmanship of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the early ’60s, explaining, “John Lewis monitored the original youth task force. And everyone knows who’s really on the front lines of leading the charge and making change, not only in this country but around the world. We want to make sure the young voices across UMG have the opportunity to share their feelings and give us their perspective, insights and guidance.”
The YFTMC is chaired by Chelsea Hannah and is comprised of an executive advisory team that includes Capitol Music Group executive VP Brian Nolan, Verve VP of Marketing, Chonita Floyd, and Island Records senior director of A&R, Jermi Thomas.
Also, in a tribute to Lewis’ lifelong fight for economic justice, criminal justice reform, and fair housing, the TFMC announced its list of organizations it will contribute to: Give Directly (national), Modest Needs (national), City Bar Justice Center in New York, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Project Home in Philadelphia, Housing Crisis Center in Dallas, United Community Housing Coalition in Detroit, Safe Haven Family Shelter in Nashville, SEARCH Homeless Houston, and Star C Eviction Relief in Atlanta.
Make no mistake—dance music is born from black culture. Without black creators, innovators, selectors, and communities, the electronic dance music we hold so dear would simply not exist. In short, dance music is deeply indebted to the global black community and we need to be doing more. Black artists and artists of color have played a profound role in shaping the sound and culture of dance music and now more than ever, it is necessary for everyone in the music community to stand up for the people that have given us so much. Dancing Astronaut pledges to make every effort to be a better ally, a stronger resource, and a more accountable member of the global dance music community. Black Lives Matter—get involved here:
Featured Image: Carolyn Kaster