“All of American music is Black music…When you say ‘Black music,’ understand that you are talking about rock, jazz, R&B, reggae, funk, doo-wop, hip-hop and Motown…Even salsa music stems back to the Motherland…Black music, is what gives America its swag.” —Bruno Mars

The musical contributions of Black Americans are as expansive as they are profound. Nearly every genre has been enhanced by the talents of Black instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, and arrangers. We have much to be proud of.

But while it’s easy to celebrate the contributions Black Americans have made to music as an art form, the acceptance and progress of Black Americans in the music industry is less optimistic. For example, the United States, unwilling to fully accept Black Americans as equal citizens, has readily accepted our spirituals, gospel music, rhythms, and love songs while also denying Black musicians access to professional opportunities unless they conformed to the dominant culture and style. What if we remembered Big Mama Thornton, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard as classic American music icons instead of other performers who stole and performed sanitized versions of their creative work?

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter first designated June as Black Music Appreciation Month. And since, Black Music Appreciation Month has been a powerful response to these enduring inequities—highlighting the economic impact and the legacy Black musicians have had on American culture. Thirty years later, Barack Obama renamed it African American Music Appreciation Month, noting the ways Black musicians have helped all of America “to dance, to express our faith in song, to march against injustice and to defend our country’s enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all.” We know Black musicians are responsible for a huge portion of the American music economy by generating revenues to the tune of billions of dollars. However, nearly a decade after the creation of Black Music Appreciation month, a 1987 report published by the NAACP, outlined the “rampant” racial discrimination that exists at every level of the music industry. The problems persist even now—35 years later— where nearly 50% of established artists are Black, but less than 10% executives at the vice-presidential level or higher are Black.

While systemic changes within the music industry are still necessary, it is clear Black music professionals can’t wait for the industry to do the right thing; they need to take matters into their own hands.

They need:

  • Proven strategies and tactics to apply critical leadership competencies
  • Broader and deeper professional networks
  • Higher levels of emotional intelligence
  • A strategic blueprint for their professional development journey

And the ELC is here to help them.

ELC’s Levels program is competency-based and designed by and for Black professionals. It centers the Black experience in the context of critical leadership domains such as developing a leadership vision, self-awareness, and management, influencing others without authority, and leading change. While many companies offer professional development for their employees, few do what The ELC does—which is center that professional development on the experience of Black professional. Your social identity at work isn’t an obstacle; it’s the path forward.

As a Black professional in the Levels program, you won’t be “the only” or “one of the few.” You will be surrounded by other talented and ambitious Black professionals from the music industry. Learning in that kind of environment is empowering, affirming and supportive. Combined with high-quality content that centers the Black experience and facilitated by accomplished Black instructors, your Levels learning experience will be one-of-a-kind in terms of its relevance and usefulness.

As a result of your Level’s experience, you will be better prepared to advance your professional journey towards the executive level. You will also be in better position to mentor and sponsor others. You will be able to leverage your Level’s experience to help other Black professionals within your company to executive with excellence and optimism.

What is Levels?
Levels, the ELC’s newest program, is a comprehensive 3-month virtual cohort program designed to accelerate Black music professionals’ progress to the executive level. The program includes:

  • 6 Live Virtual Instructor-Led Sessions
  • Up to 6 hours of 1-on-1 Executive Coaching with an ICF-certified coach
  • VIP Registration to The ELC’s 2022 Mid-Level Managers’ Symposium
  • Self-directed learning on The ELC’s Learning Management System
  • Fireside chat sessions with Black senior executives in the music industry
  • And more!

This program is for:

  • Black music professionals with 5 to 15 years of experience
  • Practitioners from across the music industry sector
  • Individual contributors, supervisors, entrepreneurs

Executive Coaching
Working with an executive coach can help you reach your professional goals faster than you would on your own. In fact, research shows working with a qualified coach increases an executive’s positive outcomes in five key areas including (1) work performance, (2) well-being, (3) coping skills, (4) work attitudes, and (5) goal-directed self-regulation.

Each Levels participant will be assigned an executive coach who has been certified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Providing up to 8 hours of individual-support, these ICF-certified coaches will help participants translate their Levels insights and strategies into tactics and outcomes tailored for their specific work environment.

What to Expect?

  • Expand your professional network with the expected 60 participating music industry professionals in cohorts of 30 people
  • Commit 3-5 hours during each of the six program weeks to live instruction, peer collaboration activities and self-directed learning assignments
  • Leverage the support of your executive coach to turn insights and strategies into actionable tactics and behaviors
  • Develop data-based insights from the Everything DiSC Workplace Profile and Change Style Indicator assessments
  • Identify high-value career advancement strategies and tactics from Black music professionals who have already made it to the C-Suite

Targeted Leadership Competencies

Change Management | Creativity |Crisis Management | Developing Others | Emotional Intelligence | Influence | Political Savvy | Strategic Thinking |Verbal & Written Communication | Vision

Learning objectives provide the foundation for training development. Terminal Objective describes the learning achieved by completing the overall program, while Enabling Objectives describe learning achieved with specific segments of the program.

Terminal Objectives
By the end of this program, participants should expect to:

  • Create a 5-year professional development blueprint that aligns vision, values, goals, networks, resources, and opportunities
  • Clarify their professional brand
  • Expand their operational, personal, and strategic networks
  • Design the “promotion packages” for their next two advancement opportunities

Enabling Learning Objectives
To achieve the terminal outcomes, participants will:

  • Explore individual proclivities to change and how they impact behavior using the Change Style Indicator assessment
  • Explore the strengths and limitations of their interpersonal work style using the Workplace DiSC personality assessment
  • Complete a self-directed technology learning project
  • Develop mutually beneficial relationships with their program peers, instructors, and executive coach
  • Develop a change management plan for a significant professional challenge