Black Lives Matter: We Must All Do Better
We are living in an extraordinary moment, there’s no question. Recent events have underlined the systemic racism that has plagued America for centuries and individuals are finally being heard in a way they never have before. It is a moment where we are saying no more.
While we are all hopefully taking steps to educate ourselves and others, donating to organizations that support BIPOC communities and/or protesting in the streets for a more equal America, what is your creative business doing?
And yes, that matters.
We’ve all received statements from arts organizations expressing solidarity with BIPOC communities, and on rarer more welcome occasions, they include clear actionable steps they will take to address systemic racism within their organizations.
This, of course, goes beyond arts organizations and applies to global conglomerates as well.
We as individual artists running our smaller but equally as mighty creative enterprises should do the same.
We do not have the luxury of most “workers”, where leadership dictates the systems in which we operate when we go to work. We, as self-generating creative entrepreneurs, are the CEOs of our businesses. We are the leadership of our businesses and this means that we too are responsible to look at the ways we are running our personal business, conducting our art, engaging our community and ask are we helping to fix this very real problem in our country?
This is separate from how we will better ourselves as individuals. The CEO of major “Corporation A” may be striving to better herself personally, separate from her company, but we also hold her accountable to improve her business as well. This allows for her consumer base to know why they should continue to support the organization. We are no different. Our collaborators, producers and audience want to know where we stand and what actions we will take as creative entities so that they know they can continue to support our businesses.
As a starting place, draft some guidelines for your venture and specify for yourself what precautions and actions you will take to ensure you are running a fair and equitable business.
These principles affect every aspect of our business: from what we self-produce, how we engage and maintain community and collaborators, allotting financial resources towards organizations, marketing initiatives, etc.
Once you have outlined your guidelines, if appropriate, share them via social media, your website or newsletter. Now is not the time for quiet planning and strategizing. Now is the time to be vocal about where you and your business stand. Now is the time to translate your personal values into ethical business practices and be held accountable to them.
Artist’s Strategy encourages our clients to think of their careers with a sense of scope and consequence at all times. We believe this is the only way to build a sustainable and empowering career in the arts. Movements of great significance are opportunities to build a real sense of how your business functions in the world and contributes to the greater good.