Photo by Cindy Ord/WireImage for The Recording Academy
Torae Talks Fighting For Change & Overhauling The Music Industry's Business Model
Torae Carr wears many hats: rapper, SiriusXM Hip-Hop Nation DJ, CEO of Internal Affairs Entertainment, Revolt TV correspondent and Recording Academy New York Chapter Board Vice President—just to name a few.
With Black Lives Matter protests being staged across the nation in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee and many other Black people at the hands of police, the Recording Academy checked in with Torae to get his perspective on the current situation, what change looks like and how the music industry at large can contribute.
How would you describe our current situation?
We are currently in unprecedented times. There's a fight for equality during a global pandemic. There are people gathering to protest and people social distancing in shelter. While unarmed black men and women continue to be murdered in the United States at the hands of police at an alarming rate, there are thousands of people dying daily from COVID-19. Our current situation is frightening yet hopeful.
How did we get here?
Years of built up hostility, ignorance, racism, systemic oppression, outdated laws and ways of thinking. As well as poor leadership.
What does change look like?
The world as we know it is forever changed. No longer will Black Lives not be seen as equal—we're going to continue to fight to be sure of that. Social gathering is different, the work place is different, the entertainment industry, anything you can imagine has been forever altered by this moment.
What are you doing to activate/advocate?
I'm on the frontlines as I have been for years. That includes using my platform, my influence, my dollars and physically being out with my allies demanding our faces be seen and our voices be heard as we fight for change.
How you coping?
My routine includes a lot of meditation, praying and exercise. Having conversations with my tribe is helpful, so is taking time to detach and reenergize. Mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical.
How can the music community at large contribute?
We are all human, so be humane. Creators: don't be afraid to create in the moment and document this important time. Consumers: continue to support the artists you love. The structure and business model of the recording industry needs an overhaul just as much as our legal system does. These underlying racial prejudices must be addressed and corrected NOW.
In your opinion, what should non-Black people be doing to support the Black community?
Listen to what we've been saying for years. We're not making up these stories of brutality, of unequal pay, of various forms of discrimination—this country was founded on those things. There has been evolution in many ways, and in many ways things remain very much the same. Injustice is injustice across the board, and if my rights can be violated today, yours can be violated tomorrow.
We've got to see this as not only a Black issue, but as an "us" issue. Use your privilege to speak up and speak out. Change your way of thinking, change your way of doing business, convince those around you that discrimination and racism is wrong. Be a good person, a friend and an ally on the right side of history.