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Universal details role of new social justice taskforce, donates $25 million

Universal Music Group chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge announced the major label would develop The Task Force for Meaningful Change co-chaired by executives Ethiopia Habtemariam and Jeff Harleston. This was of course spurred after worldwide protests due to the killing of George Floyd on May 25 by the former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin.

The global music corporation sent a memo to staff on Thursday, June 4 with the following excerpt obtained by Billboard,

“Task Force for Meaningful Change (TFMC) was created as a driving force for the ongoing fight for equality, justice and inclusion. We are charged with reviewing the company’s commitment to addressing and promoting tolerance, equality, and elimination of bias, within UMG, the music community and the world at large. It is our mission to identify the gaps and deficiencies and to strengthen UMG’s plan with new initiatives.”

Jeff Harleston is the Def Jam interim chairman and CEO while Ethiopia Habtemariam is the Motown Records president and Capitol Music Group executive VP. There are 30 other UMG employee members under the new task force.

To start, UMG put aside $25 million for what they’re calling a change fund that will be invested across six areas of focus: aid/charitable giving, global, internal/institutional change, legislative/public policy, partners, and programming/curation. The memo puts an emphasis on this being a first wave with more action to follow.

H/T: Billboard

Featured Image: Charley Gallay


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:  

Black Lives Matter

My Block My Hood My City

National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Program

Black Visions Collective

Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Legal Defense Initiative

The Bail Project

The Next Level Boys Academy

Color of Change

Committee to Protect Journalists