UK Music says the acronym BAME is ‘outdated and offensive’ and needs to be consigned to the ‘dustbin of history’ to be replaced with specific terms like ‘black’ and ‘Asian’

  • UK Music is calling for acronym BAME to be consigned to ‘dustbin of history’
  • Taskforce seeking to improve diversity called the term ‘outdated and offensive’
  • Industry body called BAME ‘careless catch-all acronym’ ahead of report release
  • UK Music taskforce found in 2018 that BAME representation in the UK music industry had increased from 15 per cent in 2016 to nearly 18 per cent

A music taskforce has urged the industry to scrap the ‘outdated and offensive’ term BAME and consign it to the ‘dustbin of history’ as part of a drive to improve diversity.

The term, which stands for black, Asian and minority ethnic, is widely used as a catch-all in discussions relating to race and inclusion.

But a taskforce set up by UK Music, the body representing record labels, composers, publishers and promoters, has claimed many find it misleading and inappropriate, including those from ethnic minority groups.

Ammo Talwar, chairman of the taskforce, said BAME was a ‘careless catch-all acronym’ and should be replaced in conversation by terms that were more specific like ‘black’ or ‘Asian’.

UK Music’s call comes after discussions with music industry insiders and a series of focus groups, the results of which will be published in its report into diversity across the music industry this month.

The term, which stands for black, Asian and minority ethnic, is widely used as a catch-all in discussions relating to race and inclusion (pictured, grime artist Stormzy)

Ammo Talwar, chairman of the UK Music taskforce, said BAME was a ‘careless catch-all acronym’ and should be replaced in conversation by terms that were more specific

The body, whose chairman is former Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, is also preparing to launch a 10-point plan, agreed by its members, to help boost diversity and inclusion.

Mr Talwar said: ‘Our report on workforce diversity in the music industry highlights where positive progress is being made, but also where more strategic long-term work and investment is urgently needed.

‘There is now an unstoppable momentum for change at pace to rapidly improve diversity in the music business and across society.

The body, whose chairman is ex-Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, is preparing to launch a 10-point plan, agreed by its members, to help boost diversity

‘One key change we want to see is the end of the use of a term which is outdated and offensive to many people from black, Asian and other diverse communities.

‘It is a term that is often used in reports and campaigns, but it’s not relevant in today’s modern music industry and jars with many in diverse communities. 

‘I have had many conversations with people in the music industry who want to see the end of an acronym which works against the sense of community and common purpose that we are all working so hard to build in the music industry and across society.

‘Our UK Music taskforce, with the support of many of our partners in the music industry, want the term consigned to the dustbin of history.

‘It’s a key step on the path to an inclusive, welcoming culture that we all want to foster. 

‘If there is a need to refer to people’s heritage, it is far better to use a word like ‘black’, ‘Asian’ or something more specific, rather than a careless catch-all acronym.

‘Our diversity is the source of our greatest strength in the music industry. However, we need to bring about further change to ensure our world-leading industry is as diverse and inclusive as possible.’

The UK Music taskforce aims to track progress to boost diversity and inclusion in the music industry that normally contributes £5.2billion a year to the UK economy.

In 2016, UK Music undertook the first industry-wide workforce diversity survey, focusing on gender and ethnicity.

The most recent survey, which was published in 2018, found that BAME representation in the UK music industry had increased from 15 per cent in 2016 to nearly 18 per cent. The BAME population in Britain is 12.8 per cent.

There has been increased scrutiny of the arts and culture industries following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in the US and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests. 

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