Def Jam Forward, the Universal Music-owned label’s task force formed in the wake of Blackout Tuesday and the Black Lives Matter movement last Spring, has posted a report on its progress over the past year.

According to its statements, the task force “is committed to fostering a community that values, promotes and demands respect, freedom, equal opportunity and justice for Black lives and all marginalized communities.

“Conceived in the wake of the George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery tragedies, Def Jam was determined to channel the power, influence and reach of one of the world’s most potent hip-hop cultural forces to advance positive change in a deeply troubled community.”

The report follows in full:

The mission of Def Jam Forward is expressed in its Pillars:

Politics & Social Justice
Marginalized communities have been systemically oppressed. We want to empower our communities by emphasizing the importance of community organizing and educating oneself to understand the policies that are affecting our communities socially. Our democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities when we lift our voices and exercise our right to vote. Your vote is precious, and your participation at all levels is paramount.

We support organizations that engage our communities to effect change on the ground. We currently actively work with multiple communities on all levels (family, home, work, government, and humanity at large) to providing resources that enhance and improve the way of life in these various communities.

Mental Health, Personal Growth and Wellness
For too long the emotional wellbeing of marginalized communities has been neglected. Stress, depression, financial instability and anxiety call all lead to serious health issues. We are here to provide resources that lead to a state of wellbeing in which can realize our abilities, work productively and contribute to our community.

Def Jam Forward has addressed a broad-ranged agenda over the past twelve months.  Many of these emerged organically during the course of its first year, as DJF achieved sizable accomplishments:

  • A crucial election-year campaign to educate the community on voting and voting rights, including where, how and why to vote, and a review of voting terminology
  • The Black And Blue Panel, a conversation on the senseless police brutality that has persisted throughout generations, featuring artists Chuck D, Jadakiss, and Bobby Sessions, athlete Royce White, and New York City political figures Hakeem Jefferies, Ronald Colter and Jumaane Williams
  • Across Georgia, in the weeks leading up to the November 2020 Presidential election, the DJF online campaign, coupled with a comprehensive multi-media advertising campaign in conjunction with our partners at iHeartRadio, to inform the state’s voters about how important the upcoming election would be
  • The #FrontlineMessages series on the DJF Instagram story, to amplify young voices during the protests
  • Protest Kits distributed on the ground by DJF volunteers during protest demon­stra­tions in Los Angeles and New York
  • DJF Merch store with ALL proceeds going towards funding activations done for the community and staff
  • Black DJs across the U.S. highlighted and employed for the [http://%20https:/www.instagram.com/p/CFZwTSWl9dQ/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link]Def Jam Summer Fridays live series, with viewers encouraged to donate to a pinned charity and/or organization in each local market
  • #BreakingBarriers online campaign highlighting black professionals who are breaking barriers in their career fields
  • Women’s Month activities including employee spotlight; online campaign showcasing women making history and shattering ceilings; and panel discussion for Def Jam staff hosted by Angela Yee of radio’s syndicated The Breakfast Club
  • Black History Month partnership with [http://%20https:/www.instagram.com/p/CLZq6-7ntA3/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link]Marvel Comics; Def Jam’s Saint Bodhi, Bobby Sessions and Kaash Paige each wrote individual character-driven short stories grounded in themes of mental health awareness and education.  Def Jam Feed x Marvel stats have topped over 1.7 million impressions.

A crucial component of Def Jam Forward has also centered on its endorsement and support of key organizations devoted to activism and change.  Among them:

Communities United for Police Reform
(Campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York)

Minnesota Freedom Fund
(Provides bail relief to people who protested on behalf of George Floyd and may not have the funds meet bail without assistance)

The Liberty Fund NYC
(Donations go towards posting bail for persons held in pretrial detention in a NYC jail as well as providing support services while they await trial, maintain their employment, and support their families)

Official George Floyd Memorial Fund
(To support and honor the memory of George Floyd)

Justice for Breonna Taylor Petition and Fundraiser
(Raise awareness and bring justice by charging the police officers who murdered Breonna Taylor)

(Aims to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all)

Peoples City Council Freedom Fund (Los Angeles)
(Funds go towards bail, fines, and court fees for arrested protestors)

Jaime Harrison
(Jaime Harrison is running against Lindsay Graham for South Carolina Senate seat in this fall’s election)

Campaign to support Amy McGrath for a Senate for the state of KY
(Defeat Mitch McConnell, Defend Democracy)

Biden For President
(Anything to get the devil out of the white house!)

The Loveland Foundation
(Providing therapy and support for Black women and girls around the country)

I Run With Maud Memorial Fund (Ahmaud Arbery)
(Alleviating the financial burden on the Arbery family of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery; Donations go towards the family’s lawyer fees, funeral costs, and fighting for justice)

Until Freedom
(An inter-sectional social justice organization rooted in the leadership of diverse people of color to address systemic and racial injustice)

Color Of Change
(The nation’s largest online racial justice organization)

The Action PAC
(Dedicated to hard hitting campaigns that stop racism and bigotry in America)

Brooklyn Community Bail Fund
(Providing bail relief to those arrested for protesting the murders of Black people by police)

Nationwide Bail Fund
(Provide bail relief for those protesting the murder of Black people at the hands of police; funds also help with lawyer fees and other necessities for protesters)

Baltimore Action Legal Team
(Exercises a community lawyering approach because it believes that communities’
organizing efforts should drive legal advocacy; supports and advances mass defense employing a human rights and racial equity framework)

Campaign Zero
(A nation-wide campaign to end police brutality)

Black Lives Matter
(Fighting for justice, healing, and freedom to Black people across the globe)