The BMAC Music Maker Guaranteed Income and Mentorship Program — like a similar program BMAC started with the Academy of Country Music launched earlier this year — will provide $1,000 a month in aid to those selected, as well as provide them with access to those in the music industry who can help advise them on their careers.
“The year of economic support can assist with basic needs such as rent, utilities and food, as well as open the door for previously challenging career moves such as studio time, travel for shows or networking opportunities, marketing, and even legal services,” the organizations said of the program.
Additionally, those selected for the program will empower “the next generation of leaders in the early stages of their careers by granting access to professional development opportunities, industry mentorship, industry exposure, and visibility with BMAC and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame members and industry leaders.”
The mentorship program “requires a bold look at old systems that don’t work and allows people to rise up as they see fit. Our direct economic empowerment programs have the chance to end paternalistic governance that demeans those living with economic challenges,” they added.
Candidates between 18-30 years old, demonstrate financial need, and reside in the United States can fill out applications for the program starting Thursday, November 2. The program itself will begin in February 2024 to coincide with Black History Month. BMAC will also host a summit that month during Grammys week.
The creation of the BMAC mentorship comes two months after Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner was ousted from his position on the Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation following his widely criticized comments about Black and female musicians.
“The reality is the Jann Wenners of the world never gave Black excellence the consideration it demanded, because it would’ve shattered the myth of this rock & roll thing of ours as, frankly, a white construct,” the Black Rock Coalition wrote recently in Rolling Stone. “Anyone with a brain and access to Google could easily prove otherwise, but in the minds of the rock establishment, this pathology has to be upheld, pardon the phrase, by any means necessary.”
The Rock Hall too has long wrestled with accusations of gender and racial imbalance, as – until recent years – the number of nominated and inducted Black and female artists had declined immensely over the past few decades; as Billboard noted in 2019, only 13 nominees that year, or 18.6%, of nominees were black, Latinx, Native American or Asian.
“Rock & roll was born from the collision of rhythm & blues, gospel and country,” John Sykes, Chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, said in a statement of the mentorship. “From its creation in 1986 through today, Black and female artists and executives have played a vital role in creating the diverse sounds, styles, and spirit honored by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We are proud to partner with the Black Music Action coalition on this important initiative.”
Willie “Prophet” Stiggers, co-founder and chairman of the Black Music Action Coalition, added, “From the crashing of the snare, to the rumbling from the bass, our stories, our pain, our joy, has always been the silence between the notes. The immeasurable contributions made by Black artists and executives have led to the growth and expansion of our music industry and impacts bottom lines globally. However those contributions have often been overlooked, appropriated and misrepresented. BMAC applauds the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for partnering us to launch a program that will directly address the long standing inequities in the music industry. We are leveling the playing field and investing in the next generation of Black and female creatives and future executives, ensuring they have the access, resources, and the network to continue to make those contributions and impact.”