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The Beat Goes On: Black Voices in the British Music Industry

7 May @ 18:30 pm - 20:30 pm

Join us for an inspiring panel event in celebration of the British Library’s “Beyond the Bassline” exhibition.

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This event takes place in the British Library and will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person, or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.

In celebration of the British Library’s “Beyond the Bassline” exhibition, we’ve assembled some ground-breaking Black entrepreneurs who’ve transformed the British music industry to share the secrets of their success, including the highs and lows of their entrepreneurial journeys.

At £2.5 billion, the UK is home to Europe’s most valuable digital music economy (Statista, 2021, 2023). However, despite the undeniable contribution of Black music artists and entrepreneurs to these figures, 2021’s Black Lives in Music report found that among Black music professionals, 73% experienced direct or indirect racism and noted disparities in respondent’s earnings and ability to gain music funding.

As part of our Inspiring Entrepreneurs series, this event provides a unique chance to hear our panel discuss the challenges and realities of the industry and share their experiences leveraging their creative talent to drive positive change for other artists and innovators. So if you’re thinking about starting a business, or already running one, join us to gain insight into their journey – or simply be inspired!

On the day, you can expect to:

  • Examine how entrepreneurship has evolved in the music industry, focusing on the journey of Black music in Britain and how this has been impacted by trends and other cultural shifts
  • Learn how music artists and creatives are transforming wider popular culture and redefining Blackness
  • Analyse diverse business models utilized in the industry
  • Discover new opportunities and potential pitfalls
  • Put your specific questions to our expert panel.

For those joining us in person, the event will be followed by a networking reception with drinks, meeting with other attendees, as well as the speakers. For those joining us online, the panel and talk will run from 18.30 – 20.30.

Speakers include:

Guvna B

Guvna B is an award-winning artist whose music has reached tens of millions of streams. His tenth studio album grapples with the aftermath of an unprovoked and racially motivated attack. His work includes chart-topping single “Massive”, launching his grief podcast, The Loss Tapes and publishing Unspoken, his bestselling memoir exploring masculinity. Guvna B’s work brings together the disparate worlds of gospel and grime, paying homage to those who came up before or alongside him.

Ray Paul

Ray Paul is an acclaimed figure in the UK broadcasting industry, particularly known for advocating Black music in all its forms. In 2001, Ray established a management team for the newly launched BBC Radio 1Xtra where he oversaw all shows from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and managed over 100 live events yearly before becoming Head of Mainstream and then Executive Producer of Weekends at Radio 1. In 2010, Ray founded The Playmaker Group, an award-winning consultancy for the music and entertainment industry, where he has managed extensive global tours for various artists.

Lisa Maffia

Lisa Maffia is a singer-songwriter, musician, fashion designer, model and presenter. She began her career as the only female member of the award winning collective So Solid Crew in 1999. Throughout their time at the top, So Solid notched up five Top 20 hits including the platinum-selling single ’21 Seconds’. In 2003, Lisa signed a solo record deal where she achieved two top 10 singles, including the platinum selling ‘All Over’. Lisa consistently tours the UK and internationally and is set to release a new album in 2024. Lisa Maffia‘s most recent business venture is Maffia Rum, a five-year age spiced rum infused with Caribbean spices which she founded in 2022.

Seani B

Born in London, Seani B has used inspiration from his hometown in his music, as well as being renowned for his Caribbean flavour. He won a Grammy for producing tracks on the Morgan Heritage album “Strictly Roots”. His weekly BBC 1Xtra show is the most listened to specialist programme on the network, amassing over 150 million views for his sessions and interviews. In 2021 he was awarded the prestigious Broadcasters Press Guild Award for Best Broadcaster of the Year across all radio programmes in the UK.

Jonzi D

Jonzi D is an MC, dancer, spoken word artist and director. Since founding Breakin’ Convention—an international hip-hop theatre festival produced annually by Sadler’s Wells theatre—in 2004 Jonzi D has been influential giving a platform to hip hop disciplines. In 2020, he directed Our Bodies Back which won ‘Best Artistic Film’ as part of the Detroit Black film festival and in 2023, Jonzi D was awarded a citation from the New York State Assembly in recognition of his efforts for advancing and advocating hip hop culture in the UK and abroad.

Moderated by:

Nat Nye and Stella B, spoken word artists and entrepreneurs.

The event has been organised by the British Library Business & IP Centre team who will be there on the night. It will be informative and interactive with some reading, listening, sitting for some time and many opportunities to ask questions. If you require any reasonable adjustments to support your participation in this event, please contact our team in advance on so we can discuss this with you.



British Library


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