Inside Sony Music
- Sony Music Group Celebrates Black History Month ‘22
- Feb 28, 2022
Last year at Sony Music Group, Black History Month centered education and reflection. This year, we were inspired to celebrate the Black community and the enormous cultural impact of Black creators and innovators across industries and around the world.
Below, read about how this year’s Black History Month theme came together, and the way Sony Music Group brought our celebration to life throughout February.
Introducing This Year’s BHM Theme: “The Roaring 20s: Black Creativity & Innovation Across the Globe”
We’re in the midst of a new era of Roaring 20s, where Black creativity, entrepreneurs, creatives, and entertainers are driving society’s modern-day cultural renaissance. Organizations across the Sony enterprise and all Sony Music Group divisions (Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Music Publishing and The Orchard) embraced this theme and made it their own.
“I love this year’s Black History Month theme,” says Naledi Nyahuma Seck, Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at The Orchard. “When I think about the Roaring 20s, I think about the celebration of Black joy, Black excellence and Black existence. We are living, thriving and just simply, being. I am very proud of the way The Orchard honored this theme through our events produced by the U.S. and UK offices and our social campaign highlighting Black-owned businesses and creators.”
SMG’s Executive Vice President of Philanthropy and Social Justice, Towalame Austin, said the Roaring 20s theme inspired a sense of reflection: “This year’s theme inspired me to reflect on Black people’s history of influencing culture. Our community has driven societal change in education, music, and social impact (to name a few), and the past couple years’ events have been no different.”
The Power of Design: Bringing SMG’s BHM Theme to Life
Visually, the theme was brought to life with vibrant colors and photographs arranged in a quilt-like pattern, to symbolize the centering of community within Black culture and the intersectional layers of the Black experience and identity. From producing art to rallying in concert crowds, the photos reflect the idea of Black communities driving creative industries forward. Arranging these photographs in “‘22” speaks to the new era and decade, and emphasizes how Black communities, creatives, and innovators are quite literally shaping the future of culture.
Fun Fact: Josh Cheuse, Sony Music’s Corporate Communications Creative Director, captured the featured photos in the ‘80s. “When trying to embody Black creativity and innovation in the creative for Black History Month I thought of photographs I’d taken during the beginning of hip hop in the ‘80s and how people’s style was so original and music was incredibly innovative,” explains Cheuse. “Then I combined that with more recent images of activism in the BIPOC community and the new wave of creativity that has been made more accessible with new technology.”
Highlighting Black Innovators: Sony Music Internal Events and Activities
Throughout the month, there were a variety of events and activities within Sony and Sony Music, focused on recognizing, supporting, and advancing Black creativity and innovation, and paying homage to the Black creators, innovators, and changemakers who foster community and shape culture across industries and around the world.
Featured event participants ranged from senior executives within Sony Music Group, to young professionals on the rise and external leaders within the entertainment industry. Listen in:
We touched on topics from insights and experiences as Black creatives in podcasting, to the importance of buying from Black-owned and -led companies, to the ways in which Black creatives are making strides in technology, politics, and entertainment.
We’d like to give a special shoutout to all the folks who helped make Black History Month at Sony Music a true celebration of community, creativity, and innovation—especially the individuals who work outside of Sony Music and lent their time during these events:
- Afika Nxumalo, Songwriter and Mixed Media Creative
- Amanda Ichite, Public Relations Manager at Aini Organix
- Brittney Winbush, Founder/CEO of Alexandra Winbush
- Jay Ellis, Actor, Writer, Producer and Director
- Jayson P. Smith, Interdisciplinary Artist
- Kelvin Jones, British-Zimbabwean Songwriter
- Dr. Kristin Edwards, Founder of BLK + GRN
- Misla Tesfamariam, Artist Manager
- Muna AnNisa Aikins, Social Scientist, Lecturer, Author
- Oyemi Hessou, Bassist, Singer, Songwriter
- Toni Wilson, Media & Communications at Cafe con Libros
- Tourmaline, Artist & Activist
- Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Co-President of The Recording Academy
And, a big bouquet of roses goes to HUE (Helping Unite Everyone) U.S. and HUE Germany, a Talent Advisory Group at Sony, for spearheading several dynamic Black History events and serving as a consistent internal partner to SMG’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
As we wrap up Black History Month 2022, we are excited to be supporters—in big ways and small—in the continuation and preservation of Black creativity and innovation in music, movies, video games and more.