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Latest round of Power Up participants announced

By | Published on Monday 17 July 2023

PRS Foundation Power Up

The Power Up initiative – launched by the PRS Foundation and Ben Wynter back in 2021 – has announced the music-makers and industry professionals that will take part in the third year of its Power Up Participant Programme.

That programme, Power Up explains, “elevates pioneering black talent and is a key feature of the long-term initiative launched to address anti-black racism and racial disparities in the music sector”.

Participants get access to financial support as well as masterclasses and mentoring, in a bid to support “the development of their careers and practice, to break through glass ceilings and accelerate change across the industry”.

The year before the launch of Power Up, many in the music industry made commitments to address ongoing discrimination in the sector following the Black Out Tuesday protest. Staged in response to the murder by US police officers of George Floyd, that protest saw many in the music industry pause their operations for 24 hours, most posting a black square to social media.

In the wake of the protest, a number of practical initiatives were launched and supported within the music business, including in the UK, Power Up among them. However, there has been criticism of late about the extent to which some major players in the industry have made good on those past commitments.

Stressing that there is still much more work to be done to address discrimination in the sector – and that the industry needs to continue proactively supporting schemes like Power Up – Wynter says: “Three years after the black square movement, many promises and statements appear to have been forgotten”.

“Despite initial pledges for change, we are witnessing the resurgence of injustices, lack of equity, and inequality as things revert to ‘normal'”, he goes on. “Power Up demonstrates that empowering black talent to shatter the glass ceiling leads to success. As we enter our third year and our network grows to 120, it’s evident that this programme remains a vital lifeline for powering up black talent”.

Discussing Power Up’s work beyond the Participant Programme, he continues: “We’ve worked behind the scenes to guide companies in correcting missteps and actively participated in Intellectual Property Office roundtable discussions on streaming, advocating for diverse voices to be included. Power Up is driving tangible change, staying true to its original purpose. In these uncertain times, we urge industry leaders to move beyond symbolic gestures and take concrete action to support this initiative and honour the promises they made in 2020”.

The music-maker participants in the third year of Power Up are: Agaama, Aleighcia Scott, Ayrtn, Ashaine White, Azekel, Blasio Kavuma, Cay Caleb, Cherise, Daudi Matsiko, Joel Culpepper, Josh Daniel, Kadeem Tyrell, Lemfreck, Rebekah Reid, Santino Browne, Shao Dow, Uninvited and Yung Fume.

The industry professional participants are: Ade Edu, Alanna Henry, Albert Doku (Ras Kwame), Basil Reynolds, Cils Williams, Corey Johnson, Dane Bradshaw, Eddie Smith, Elise Brown, Esther Oram, James Ayo, Kima Otung, Kwabena Amponsa, Lesley-Anne O’Brien, Mark Tremaine Okata Agbi, Mike Cave, Neicee Oakley, Reggie Kerr, Shakira Walters, Smooth Fuego, Wale Kalejaiye and Wizdom Layn.