The House of Blues Music Forward Foundation Talks Music Diversity at Cal State LA

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Christopher Lazaro, Staff Reporter

The House of Blues Music Forward Foundation gathered professionals to discuss on campus how to enter and survive in the music industry in terms of diversity.

In the panel discussion Nov. 20, the topic of D.E.I. (Diversity Exclusion Inclusion) was addressed by Pamela Burga, the manager of diversity and belonging at Live Nation. “I think we are in time right now where D.E.I has been sort of around for the last couple of decades. [We’re] seeing momentum because companies are seeing [diversity] as a nice thing to have, but actually necessary for their business.”

Another topic during the panel discussion was the issue of how artists are used for monetization, rather than influence.

One of the panel speakers, Eddie “Eddie G!” Garica, internet personality and entrepreneur, referred to Bad Bunny in regards to that topic, “Now that’s he’s in this position where he got all these eyeballs, he said that he’s an influencer by speaking to the fact that it’s not just about the money. It’s a lot more than that.”

Not everything is about diversity according to Garcia. “… unfortunately- traditional business- it doesn’t matter how much diversity you think you want in the organization. If you’re not making the bottom line then diversity doesn’t really matter. That’s the mentality.”

At the end of the event, the industry professionals were asked to give advice to anyone still wanting to pursue a career in the music industry.

Damian Vaca, vice president at Unscripted Productions, wanted people to know their worth. “Just wherever you go, just know your value, and know what you’re worth.” Vaca added being versatile in the industry helps a lot.

The House of Blues Music Forward Foundation event organizer Daniel Kelley said the “event is about diversity in the music industry… We brought together professionals from several different companies like Live Nation to speak not from their own personal experiences as a minority individual, but to speak largely how the entertainment industry is becoming more inclusive.”