The Howard University Business School has received a $4.9 million gift from Warner Music Group/Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund (WMG/BFF SJF) to create a new music business center.
“I’d like to thank the Warner Music Group and the Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund for this significant gift to launch the music business center at Howard University,” Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said. “The contributions of African-American artists to the music and entertainment business are significant, but people of color are still underrepresented on the management side of the industry.”
He added the center would help change that by training the next generation of music industry leaders. “This gift to the School of Business honors the historic legacy Black people have made in the industry while making a crucial investment in today’s students who will become the leaders of tomorrow,” Frederick continued.
The notable HBCU announced the gift in a press release on March 1. The WMG/BFF SJF fund was established in June 2020 in response to the rash of Black Americans killed by police including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others.
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It focuses on supporting organizations that build more equity in criminal justice, cultural and performing arts, and education. While many know Black people have long made innovative contributions and led trends in music and artistry, they are still underrepresented in the music industry’s executive positions. Howard’s new center seeks to change that.
“Through the center we will prepare Howard students for management leadership positions and create a pipeline to help diversify all levels of this influential business,” Howard University School of Business Dean Dr. Anthony D. Wilbon said. “Our goal is to prepare students with the skills necessary to succeed, provide the networking opportunities to gain exposure to industry leaders, and create long term impact in the entertainment board rooms.”
The gift was made possible with the assistance of Howard alum Julian Petty, EVP and Head of Business & Legal Affairs at Warner Records. Petty also serves as a Fund Advisory Board member.
“As a Howard alum, I could not be prouder to have played a role in bringing this much-needed music center to my alma mater,” Petty said. “It will also serve as an important step forward in creating a better pipeline of Black executives in the music business, and I am confident that it will help nurture the next generation of industry leaders.”
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