The Academy of Country Music and the Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC) have teamed up to launch the OnRamp program, a guaranteed income program for 20 young Black members of the music community in Nashville, Tennessee.
The program intends to improve inclusivity and equity within Music City, while empowering the next generation of leaders early in their careers through access to professional development opportunities, community mentorship, and other resources to increase personal growth and industry exposure, including exclusive ACM membership panels and tentpole live events as well as visibility with the ACM Board and other industry leaders.
OnRamp applications will be available starting in late spring with the program starting in June, in celebration of Black Music Month and to commemorate BMAC’s third anniversary. Each participant will receive a one thousand dollar monthly stipend for one year.
The 2022 cohort of the ACM LEVel Up: Lift Every Voice program will help to guide the OnRamp program as it grows. ACM LEVel Up is a Nashville-based professional development and enrichment program for rising leaders in country music, funded by ACM at no cost to participants. The two-year curriculum is designed to encourage participants to play a crucial role in expanding the horizons of the country genre to new audiences that transcend demographics and geography. In December, ACM announced the program’s 2023 cohort, representing an entirely new and unduplicated list of organizations from the 2022 inaugural class.
Last June, BMAC released a report, Three Chords & The Actual Truth, which documented opportunities for improvement in Black representation and participation in the country music space. The report called for Music Row, the city of Nashville and its companies, organizations and individuals committed to change and equity to partner with BMAC in a transformational program for Black artists in Nashville. ACM is amongst the first industry leaders to recognize and help facilitate necessary changes within the music community.
“The Academy has a rich history of fostering diversity and inclusion in the country music industry both on stage and behind-the-scenes, and we see this partnership as a particularly impactful way to continue our committed work to making the statement ‘Country Music is for Everyone’ a true reality,” says ACM CEO Damon Whiteside. “We’re excited to work with BMAC on this pivotal and transformative work for our Nashville community by increasing opportunities for young professionals from diverse backgrounds in our industry.”
“It speaks volumes for the Black Music Action Coalition and the Academy of Country Music to join forces to launch a guaranteed income program in Nashville for emerging Black artists and young professionals. I applaud Damon Whiteside, the ACM Board and the LEVel Up team for sharing our vision and becoming true partners with BMAC on a direct impact solution that will begin to address long standing racial inequalities that exist in this country,” says BMAC Co-Founder & Co-Chair Willie “Prophet” Stiggers.
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