New LGBT+ network Pride in Music aims to champion diversity

The logo of Pride in Music in its Facebook photo

Figures from across Britain have set up Pride in Music, an LGBT+ network to help everyone from young talent to established stars.

The plan is for the group—which its founders say is the first of its kind—to connect artists and employees so that they can help one another, both through peer support and networking.

Pride in Music is also set to provide employer education, as well as the chance for one lucky developing LGBT+ musician to take to the stage at the Mighty Hoopla, a London pop festival extravaganza which will be on June 8 this year.

The artist who is chosen will be included in all promotion materials for the Mighty Hoopla, with the idea of spreading their name and sound to a much larger audience.

A Facebook post by new LGBT+ music network Pride in Music

Pride in Music states its aims (Pride in Music/Facebook)

The team behind Mighty Hoopla, East Creative—which also runs Sink The Pink—will work with Pride in Music to offer work experience placements to young, underprivileged queer people.

These opportunities will include roles as an artist liaison and runner on the day of Mighty Hoopla, which will give people experience of working backstage at a prominent music festival.

Who is behind Pride in Music?

Pride in Music was founded by David James Lennon, Guy Howes and Jamie Ahye, with support from Blake Price, Mark Fabish, Simon Jones and Sophie Harley.

Founding members also include people from BMG, Sony Music, Warner Music, Universal Music and Creative Artists Agency, among other big names.

They explained that part of the reason for creating Pride in Music was to address shortcomings in the way LGBT+ people are treated in the workplace.

British singer-songwriter Dodie performing on stage at her concert

One of many openly queer British singers, Dodie, wearing a Pride flag during a concert (doubtdaniel/twitter)

Last year, Stonewall research found that one in three people fear telling colleagues about their sexuality or gender identity, a figure which rises to half of all trans workers.

Howes, who works at Creative Artists Agency, said: “As an industry we strive to promote and celebrate diversity with the artists and musicians we work with—yet we still have so much to do to address LGBTQ+ stigmas and encourage more diversity in the workplace.”

Pride in Music will also help charitable causes

Ahye, from Atlantic Records, explained that his group would be more than musicians helping other musicians; it would also be a charitable enterprise.

“When thinking about setting up the network it became really apparent that we could work across so many different areas, not only to benefit our members but to help other LGBTQ+ charities, spaces and companies,” he said.

“Across 2019, Pride in Music will be fundraising for our key charity partner (more news to come soon), working alongside key festivals and promoters to encourage bookings of more LGBTQ+ musicians, hosting panels and by the end of the year, our goal is to have set up a peer to peer mentoring scheme for the members of the network.”

“I hope that… we can provide a service to help those in need who may be less fortunate in dealing with mental health issues [and] anxieties”

— Pride in Music co-founder David James Lennon

Lennon delved deeper into the thinking behind Pride in Music, saying: “We are considerably lucky to work in a creative industry based on such rich and varied cultures and histories.

“However, in recent years it has become clearer that in comparison to our counterparts in film, television and [the] media, those of us driving the front-line output of these organisations behind the scenes still remain relatively underserved.

“I hope that by forming an organisation like Pride in Music, we can provide a service to help those in need who may be less fortunate in dealing with mental health issues, anxieties and other consequences that arise with these topics and provide a rich and varied community for networking, peer mentoring, social engagements, education within all areas of the workplace and encourage overall visibility.”