“Mr. President, if Black Lives Matter, please prove it! Do Black lives only matter during an election cycle?”
Those incendiary words were written by Willie “Prophet” Stiggers, the co-founder/co-chair of the Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC), and sent to President Joe Biden today (Oct. 6) at the close of a letter pushing the agenda of the long-awaited George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, and demanding an Executive Order be signed into legislation.
Formed as an advocacy group whose principal goals are to address systemic racism within the music business on behalf of “Black artists, songwriters, producers, managers, agents, executives, lawyers and passionate industry professionals,” BMAC has also been active in direct political action, advocacy and the electoral process. BMAC backed Joe Biden in his 2020 Presidential run based on the Democrat’s “promise to the Black community, George Floyd’s family, and to America.”
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, created in July 2020, after the vicious slaying of its unarmed namesake at the hands of police, is the first-ever comprehensive act designed to holding police accountable for their actions. Along with demanding the legal end of racial profiling, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act seeks to change the very culture of law enforcement, empower Black communities, and build trust between law enforcement and those same communities by establishing national standards for operation of police departments, mandate data collection on police encounters and more. This same George Floyd Justice in Policing Act has sat on President Biden’s desk ever since his inauguration in January 2021, and as far as the BMRC is concerned, to borrow another movement’s hashtag, time’s up.
“You told George Floyd’s daughter that her father would change the world,” writes BMAC’s Stiggers. “Now that we have elected you President of the United States, I’ve anxiously waited and watched several executive orders get signed. But we are still waiting for the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act? … How can you Build Back Better and push to pass a bill that addresses America’s infrastructure, without addressing the cracks in America’s soul?”
BMAC made headlines last month when it staged its inaugural Music In Action gala and presented the Quincy Jones Humanitarian Awards to H.E.R. and The Weeknd; the BMAC Social Impact Award to YouTube Music and Shawn Gee of Live Nation Urban; the Clarence Avant Trailblazer Award to Motown chairman Ethiopia Habtemariam and YouTube’s Tuma Basa; and its Agent of Change Awards to Aurora James, Dina LaPolt and Ben Crump. Variety was a media sponsor for the Sept. 23 event.