Music industry urged to ditch “outdated and offensive” BAME acronym

The term has been described as "outdated and offensive to many people from Black, Asian and other diverse communities"

A Diversity Taskforce led by the trade body UK Music has called on the music industry to dump the acronym BAME – describing it as an “outdated and offensive term”.

The term, which refers to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnics, is set to be ditched as part of a new ten-point plan to boost diversity and inclusion in the music industry.

The move follows focus groups and wide-ranging discussions across the music industry, and has received backing from UK Music – which is considered to be the collective voice of the UK music industry.

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It is hoped that ending the usage of the term BAME will pave the way for greater acknowledgement of the unique experience of people from different ethnic backgrounds.

Describing the decision, UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce Chair, Ammo Talwar MBE, said that the change was urgently needed after the revival of Black Lives Matter protests across the globe in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

“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,” he said.

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

“One key change we want to see is the end of the use of a term which is outdated and offensive to many people from Black, Asian and other diverse communities.”

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He added: “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.”

He went on to explain what can be said instead of ‘BAME’ in future. “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.”

Further details of the ten-point plan will be revealed next week.

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