Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Victoria Monét Host 2024 Black Music Action Coalition Music Makers Celebration

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If you had to describe Black music in three words, what would it be? 

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis would say, “soulful, love, and good.” Victoria Monét would describe it as “innovative, timeless, and authentic.” Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC) co-founder Shawn Holiday says it’s the “next generation.” For Tank, it’s “what I love.” Meanwhile, fellow BMAC co-founder Willie “Prophet” Stiggers labels Black music as “resilience, power, [and] storytelling.” 

At this year’s BMAC Music Makers Celebration, VIBE got the chance to catch up with the aforementioned pioneers and waymakers to discuss the philanthropic effort as it relates to the next generation of Black artists as well as Monét’s recently-announced partnership with the foundation. 

For the newly-minted Grammy winner, she’s honored to be able to give back to rising talent in this manner. “I look at my story, and I look at times when I really just wish I had somebody to lean on. And so I’m happy that I’m in the position and have the privilege to be able to do that for somebody else,” she shared exclusively. “I always want to be able to give back and make it a full circle moment. I think about my daughter [Hazel] and what I would want her to have, what access, whatever career she chooses, for people to be there for her and be giving her the tea, giving her tips, and helping her through whatever struggles that she may encounter. So, I’m happy to be that person for somebody else.”

Monét teased that she’s raising “a monster,” because the two-year-old has already made history as the youngest Grammy nominee. “I’m like, ‘She’s going to be kind of hard to impress,’” she said, chuckling.

Jimmy Jam, who co-hosted the event with his musical partner Terry Lewis, said the Music Makers Grant is about “keeping music alive.” He expressed, “We always say we want to leave music in a better place than we found it, and this is, to me, one of the things we can do to help do that.”

From the BMAC co-founders themselves, they prided themselves on being able to pay it forward. Holiday explained, “Not only do we walk the walk, but we talk the talk.” Prophet added, “Well, it’s on us to pay it forward. In 2020, the greatest call for racial justice we ever experienced took place in this nation and Black Music Action Coalition said that it was going to be our job to hold our industry accountable to the commitments that they made, and then to use that collective bargaining power to impact policy. So, this is an extension of our commitment to pay it forward, to ensure the next generation of creators have an opportunity to really thrive.”

He also shared how aligned it was to partner with Monét this year; not just because of her accolades, but because of her journey. She’s a story of resilience. She’s a story of perseverance. She’s a story of not letting go of a dream and fighting until it wins. And it’s that spirit that we’re paying it forward with this brand and her name,” said Prophet. 

The evening was complete with a silent auction and an impromptu performance from Tank, Flavor Flav, and Kenny Burns as they sang Babyface’s “Whip Appeal.” Teedra Moses sang Cheryl Lynn’s “Encore” and Jermaine Dupri took over the turntables as Tank led a sing-a-long of Jam & Lewis hits.

Check out highlights from the event below.

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