Howard University is furthering its efforts to cultivate a new generation of leaders in the music industry and the institution will be able to do so with the help of a new grant. The HBCU recently received a $4.9 million endowment from the Warner Music Group-Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund.
The gift will go towards the creation of the Howard University School of Business’ new music business center. The center will serve as the epicenter for all things music management and will offer certification programs, and executive-in-residence and internship opportunities. The center will also host an array of candid discussions with music executives to teach students about the ins and outs of pursuing a career in the music industry.
Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick says he’s grateful for the donation and the cultivation of the program will pay homage to Black music pioneers who have paved the way and empower students to shape the industry and push it forward. “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 said. “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.” Julian Petty, a Howard alum who serves as EVP and Head of Business & Legal Affairs at Warner Records, says the program will be instrumental in developing a pipeline of Black executives in the music industry.
There have been a few music education-focused initiatives launched at HBCUs. Last year, Universal Music Group and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund unveiled an internship program designed to teach HBCU students different facets of the music industry including licensing, music publishing, business development, marketing and promotions and A&R. Participating labels included Def Jam Recordings, Capitol Records, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Republic Records and others.