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  • How This Sony Music Group Impact Fellow is Helping Implement Social Change Through Philanthropy & Social Impact
  • Sep 30, 2022
How This Sony Music Group Impact Fellow is Helping Implement Social Change Through Philanthropy & Social Impact

This article is written by Makiyah Owens and is part of the SMG Impact Fellows Mix Tape Series, a collection of first-person essays written by the 2022 Sony Music Group Impact Fellows cohort. Read more about the SMG Impact Fellows Program here. 

How would you describe your internship experience, using a song from a Sony Music artist? 
‘Dreams’ by Solange accurately describes my internship experience at Sony Music Group (SMG). The song starts with the lyrics, “I grew up a little girl with dreams, dreams, dreams” and she then goes on to sing, “Dreams come a long way.” It has been a dream to intern with SMG. Music has a special place in my heart, and I love working on social impact initiatives. The fact that I’m in a position where I can marry those two passions is surreal. Not to mention, the instrumentals in that song are amazing and make my soul happy. 

What is your favorite aspect of interning in the Philanthropy and Social Impact Department? 
Being able to learn and contribute to Sony Music Group’s social impact initiatives, as well as brainstorming/pitching creative ways our team can get SMG artists involved in these initiatives. One of the main things I have learned during my internship is how influential celebrity and artist involvement is in terms of advocating for social change within our society.  

I also enjoyed learning about the missions, goals, and initiatives of the organizations that Sony Music Group funds through the Sony Music Global Social Justice Fund. The individuals leading the organizations that have received funding through the GSJF are passionate about the work that they do, and it is so rewarding to listen to and understand how they drive change in our society. I also enjoy working with our partner organizations to find opportunities where Sony Music Group can support the advancement of helping them meet their goals. 

For example, one of our partner organizations that I enjoyed learning more about was When We All Vote. When We All Vote was created by Michelle Obama and “aims to change the culture around voting and to increase participation in every election by helping close the race and age gap.” On my first day interning with the department, I was able to attend a ‘Democracy Summit’ put on by the organization. This was an amazing experience in which I was able to listen to several leaders within our community discuss voter rights, voter education, the state of our democracy, and how we can combat voter suppression. It was a such an impactful experience for me, and I will carry the knowledge I obtained during that summit with me throughout my career. 

What are the benefits of being a MAIP student and an SMG Impact Fellow? How has it been balancing the MAIP Fellowship and SMG Impact Fellowship?
In addition to being an SMG Impact Fellow, I am also a part of the MAIP program. As a MAIP Fellow, I participated in a series of agency-sponsored professional development workshops and seminars. Attending the educational MAIP seminars along with completing my SMG internship was extremely beneficial because the MAIP sessions offer professional development and networking advice that I directly apply to my SMG internship.  

For example, there was a MAIP seminar regarding wellness and prioritization in the workplace and how to fit wellness into your professional life. I was able to take what I learned from the seminar and implement that into my internship the next day.  

At first, it was challenging to juggle both my MAIP responsibilities and my SMG Impact Fellow experience, but after a week or two, I was able to create a structured routine that centered around prioritization, to make sure that I was completing my requirements for both. 

What advice can you offer to future SMG Impact Fellows? 
Be a sponge during this experience. Soak up all the knowledge that you can in any way possible, whether it be attending meetings, asking questions, or conversing with everyone in your department as well as people in other departments. You get out of this experience what you put into it so take every opportunity you can to understand the roles of the people in your department. This is also an opportunity to understand more about yourself and if this is a career path that you are still passionate about. Internships are all about learning and growing so use this time to do as much of that as you can.  

Songs on rotation:

  1. “Vegas” – Doja Cat
  2. “RUNITUP” – Tyler, The Creator
  3. “Baby Doll” – Dominic Fike 
  4. “Cash In, Cash Out” – Pharrell Williams, 21 Savage & Tyler, the Creator
  5. “Dark Red” – Steve Lacy

For more stories on the SMG Impact Fellows second cohort:


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