Breaking Down Racial Barriers: A Series of Discussions with Music Professionals from the Black Community on anti-Black Racism in the Canadian Music Entertainment Industry

Posted on
July 29, 2020
Tagged as
advance, BDRB, breaking down racial barriers, CIMA

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Breaking Down Racial Barriers: A Series of Discussions with Music Professionals from the Black Community on anti-Black Racism in the Canadian Music Entertainment Industry

CIMA, The Canadian Independent Music Association is facilitating a series of roundtable discussions on anti-Black racism in the Canadian music entertainment industry. The series is presented in association with supporting partner ADVANCE, Canada’s new Black Music Business Collective which is working to develop an infrastructure for the betterment, upliftment and retention of Black people in the music business. CIMA has invited peer and partner organizations from across the national industry to support the initiative.

Initiated, curated and coordinated in association with entertainment community mainstays Ian Andre Espinet and David “Click” Cox, these discussions will be CENTRED in the voices and lived experiences of working Black music professionals from the vast segments of music entertainment.

All conversations will be Black led with the public, peer & partner organizations and the industry invited to LISTEN and challenge ways of thinking, explore unconscious bias, and examine the collective role played in perpetuating anti-Black racism in the music industry. These discussions on systemic and systematic anti-Black racism will seek to identify the structures and behaviours which facilitate it. In so doing, TOGETHER, we can begin to confront, address and dismantle existing racist structures and practices within the industry.

CIMA and ADVANCE recognize this moment in time as a MOVEMENT, and are seizing the opportunity to have difficult, yet critical conversations in an effort to identify the structures and behaviours that perpetuate anti-Black racism within the music entertainment industry. After listening to the experiences and the lessons contained therein, the accumulated knowledge will be used to compile a report containing ACTIONABLE suggestions for CHANGE. It is hoped that this report will be utilized by peer & partner organizations and the wider community in correcting anti-Black racism within their spaces. This is not to be viewed as a checklist exercise and will lead organizations far beyond simple performative allyship. Accountability is key.

Breaking Down Racial Barriers will take place in 10 zoom roundtable discussions, each Tuesday at 1pm beginning August 4th 2020. 9 sessions will address key areas of the entertainment industry and barriers faced by Black people - with highlighted themes and key take-aways captured. The final segment will aggregate accumulated knowledge and create actionable solutions. These suggestions will be compiled in The Breaking Down Racial Barriers report which will be then shared with all peer & partner organizations and the wider community with the understanding that it can, if embraced, inform how policies and practices can and should be reformed.


EPISODE 1: Systemic & Systematic Racism: A Discussion on anti-Black Racism in the Entertainment Industry

EPISODE 2: The Economics of anti-Black Racism in the Entertainment Industry

EPISODE 3: Anti-Black Racism in the Media & the Spaces that Create it

EPISODE 4: Barriers faced by Black Event Producers: Agents, Access to Venues Event Spaces, Festivals & Sponsorship

EPISODE 5: Anti-Black Racism in The Creative Space: From Creatives to Ad Agencies

EPISODE 6: Challenges faced by Black Artists: Systemic & Systematic Barriers - Independent to Major Label

EPISODE 7: Representation in the Corporate & Organizational Entertainment Industry: Record Labels, Streaming Companies & Industry Associations

EPISODE 8: Retention & Succession (Part 1) - The Role of Education, Mentorship & Succession Planning in creating the next generation of Black Music Professionals

EPISODE 9: Retention & Succession (Part 2) - A Voice at the Table: Hiring, Professional Advancement & Promotion w/i the Music Entertainment Industry

EPISODE 10: Summary, Conclusions & Creation of Actionable Items for Change 


CIMA is a not-for-profit national trade association representing English-language, Canadian-owned and controlled businesses of the domestic, commercial music industry. CIMA represents a diverse membership of small businesses including: record producers, record labels, recording studios, managers, agents, licensors, music video producers and directors, creative content owners, artist-entrepreneurs and other professionals from across the sound recording industry. CIMA represents over 320 Canadian companies and professionals and 6,200 Canadian artists including: Daniel Caesar, A Tribe Called Red, Tanya Tagaq, Serena Ryder, Terra Lightfoot, Tegan and Sara, Whitehorse, The Sheepdogs and METRIC.


ADVANCE is a non-profit advocacy group launched to champion the advancement of Black professionals in the Canadian music industry. ADVANCE, Canada’s Black Music Business Collective, aims to hold the corporate, private, and government sectors accountable in order to build a more equitable Canadian music industry that grants Canada’s Black music communities a fair and valued voice.


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