Breaking Down Racial Barriers In The East Coast Music Industry: Final Episode

Sat 6th November 2021
Turo, Nova Scotia
Tagged as
BDRB, CBMIC, CIMA, ECMA, Music Nova Scotia, Music PEI, Music/Musique NB, MusicNL, NSMW, Turo


Co-creating an inclusive Atlantic Canadian music industry where Black music professionals thrive

KJIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) - OCTOBER 13, 2021 - Over the past few months, ECMA has presented The Breaking Down Racial Barriers (BDRB) roundtable series on anti-Black racism in the East Coast music and entertainment industry. Episodes 1-3 have provided overdue, honest and necessary discourse on race relations in the region’s music sector, as told by Black music professionals from the region.

The fourth and final panel will take place on Saturday, November 6th as part of Nova Scotia Music Week in Truro, NS (November 4-7). For the first time, the panel will be presented as a hybrid online/in-person event.

The series is presented by The East Coast Music Association (ECMA), and Music Nova Scotia (MNS) in partnership with The African Nova Scotian Music Association (ANSMA), Cape Breton Music Industry Co-Operative (CBMIC), Music/Musique NB, Music NL and Music PEI, alongside founding sponsor, The Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) with support from TD and FACTOR.

"Music Nova Scotia is honoured to have the opportunity to host the final session of the summer East Coast BDRB series at Nova Scotia Music Week 2021. Creating spaces for meaningful discussions to support BIPOC artists and industry is vital to the work and learning MNS has prioritized over the past year. We hope that this hybrid event - in person and online - will help us to identify best practices to ensure equity seeking groups have ongoing access to support." - Allegra Swanson, Executive Director, Music Nova Scotia

BDRB has sparked national conversation on the scope and intensity of anti-Black racism in the Canadian music industry. Through nationwide consultation with artists and leading industry professionals, the roundtable series has woven a powerful, collective narrative that tells the experience of Black Canadian music professionals.

The East Coast panels kicked-off in May 2021, just shy of a year past the industry’s wave of declarations to support Black music professionals made on “Blackout Tuesday” - catalysed by the events of the Black Lives Matter movement. So far, the regionally focused sessions have uncovered recurring themes preventing success for Black music professionals. These include, but are not limited to: lack of representation throughout the music industry ecosystem (most notably in decision making positions including leadership of organizations and boards); inequitable access to funding & resources, lack of opportunity for export and overall absence of infrastructure.

ECMA • 1800 Argyle Street • Suite 802 • Halifax • NS • Canada • B3J 3N8 • 1-800-513-4953 •

"Having the 4th BDRB session take place during Nova Scotia Music Week, supported by ECMA and all the music associations of the Atlantic region, provides an important opportunity for the industry to come together for open discussions and positive actions moving forward. Although this marks the end of the 4-part initiative that started in May, it is just the first step towards stronger support for the development, advancement and inclusion of Black and racialized members of the East Coast music community." - Andy McLean, Chief Executive Officer, East Coast Music Association

Black music and the Black music community, with its depth of influence, is pushing to claim much deserved space in the future Atlantic Canadian industry from which it has been historically and systemically excluded. The final installment in the series will take a future-focused and strategic approach to the question, “Where to from here?”.

“Throughout the BDRB series, the mission has been to ensure that the lived experiences of Black music professionals are told in their own words. For the final panel, the approach will shift, teaming key Black thought leaders & stakeholders with decision-makers, with a focus on key findings, recommendations, and actionable solutions which can be used in developing an inclusive and thriving East Coast music sector.” - Ian Andre Espinet, BDRB

East Coast Breaking Down Racial Barriers Roundtables

Initiated, curated and coordinated by Canadian music and entertainment industry mainstays Ian Andre Espinet and David “Click” Cox, the Breaking Down Racial Barriers initiative is centered in the voices and lived experiences of working Black music professionals. In an effort to advance equity in the region's music industry, ECMA along with Atlantic music industry associations and ANSMA, has given full support to the BDRB facilitated series to curate difficult, yet critical conversations in an effort to identify the structures and behaviours that perpetuate anti-Black racism.

The 4th and final roundtable will aggregate the findings to create actionable recommendations for change which will be shared with peer & partner organizations and the wider community.

PANEL 4: November 6, 2021 | 12:30pm ADT | 1:00pm NDT [11:30am EDT] | Live at Nova Scotia Music Week and Online [Register Here]


  • Systemic & Systematic Racism
  • The Economics of anti-Black Racism in the Entertainment Industry
  • Anti-Black Racism in the Media & the Spaces that Create it
  • Barriers faced by Black Event Producers: Agents, Access to Venues Event Spaces, Festivals & Sponsorship
  • Anti-Black Racism in The Creative Space
  • Challenges faced by Black Artists: Systemic & Systematic Barriers - Independent to Major Label
  • Representation in the Corporate & Organizational Entertainment Industry: Record Labels, Streaming Companies & Industry Associations
  • Retention & Succession: The Role of Education, Mentorship & Succession Planning in creating the next generation of Black Music Professionals; Hiring, Professional Advancement & Promotion w/i the Music Entertainment Industry
  • This hybrid session will be held in-person and online via Sidedoor, and is completely free to attend. To register for this session head to, where you can register to attend in person OR virtually, and where you can also register to become a full delegate for Nova Scotia Music Week.

    List all events