BRUSSELS (CelebrityAccess) – IMPALA has launched a new award, known as the Changemaker Award. Part of IMPALA’s diversity and inclusion initiative, the award aims to put the spotlight on projects that promote change within the independent sector and inspire others to do the same. It is being launched in May as part of European Diversity Month.
The first recipient of this new award is the POWER UP initiative, which supports Black music creators, industry professionals, and executives, as well as addressing racism and racial disparities in the music sector. POWER UP was launched in January 2021, co-founded by PRS Foundation and Ben Wynter, and managed in partnership with YouTube Music, Beggars Group, Spotify, and the Black Music Coalition.
The award will be given annually, with IMPALA members nominating projects, and IMPALA’s equality, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I) task force voting the winner. IMPALA also launched a new dedicated webpage to highlight other initiatives that promote ED&I in the music sector.
Ben Wynter, Co-Founder of POWER UP, Founder of Unstoppable Music, and AIM Entrepreneur and Outreach Manager commented: “Thank you to the IMPALA Taskforce for honoring POWER UP as the first recipients of this award. I’d like to thank members of our steering group, focus groups, participants, partners and Senior POWER UP Manager Yaw Owusu, as well as Charisse at Black Lives in Music, Paulette Long, and Danny D for giving me the strength, wisdom, and support to carry on when at times the burden felt too much to bear. I would also like to shine a light on and encourage all of the other organisations and initiatives working to create a fairer and more diverse industry for all across Europe. Their work does not go unnoticed and inspires us all at POWER UP.
Helen Smith, IMPALA’s Executive Chair commented: “We’re delighted to see POWER UP as first recipient of IMPALA’s Changemaker Award. Our new award scheme is the perfect opportunity to highlight the great work they’re doing. We hope this will help our members to get inspired and take action locally. We encourage the music sector in each country to have their own POWER UP scheme.”
Ben Wynter concluded: “POWER UP was created to move the needle on anti-Black behaviour within the music industry and to facilitate better dialogue for those companies who posted black squares, wanted to do better but didn’t know how to, whilst breaking down the unspoken barriers that often exist between their organisations and the Black music community.
Despite pushback from some in the industry, the first year proved to be an overwhelming success and we’re proud to bring together partners to bring about much needed change. We want to see more people actively engaging and collaborating with us so POWER UP can light their path as they take steps in the right direction towards authentic engagement and understanding of the Black music community and anti-Black racism. The data coming out of POWER UP justify what we already knew that a glass ceiling DOES exist and that equipping underrepresented talent with the tools to dismantle that ceiling works.
Awards such as these are always bittersweet, as we would all like to work in an industry where an award like this isn’t needed. The journey has been mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting and this award is a much-needed shot in the arm to encourage all associated with POWER UP to keep going, and to keep the conversation around actively combatting anti-Black racism going.”
IMPALA was established in 2000 and now represents nearly 6000 independent music companies. IMPALA’s mission is to grow the independent music sector sustainably, return more value to artists, promote diversity and entrepreneurship, improve political access, inspire change, and increase access to finance.