The Wilco ringleader has pledged to give five per cent of his songwriter royalties to the African-American community to pay ‘debt’ he owes to the black culture.
Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy has promised to give five per cent of his songwriter royalties to black community groups fighting racism and urged other leading music industry figures to follow suit.
In a post on Facebook, the alternative rocker writes that all musicians owe a debt to black culture, and as a result should pay their “debt” by giving back a percentage of their earnings to Black Lives Matter organisations.
“The modern music industry is built almost entirely on Black art. The wealth that rightfully belonged to Black artists was stolen outright and to this day continues to grow outside their communities,” he writes.
“No one artist could come close to paying the debt we owe to the Black originators of our modern music and their children and grandchildren. As an individual I have recognised the unfairness of the life I live in relation to the deprivation of people whose work mine is but a shadow of. I’ve tried to compensate for those inequities in both my public and private life. It hasn’t been enough.”
The musician then proposed label chiefs and royalty collection firms set up a programme allowing artists to direct some of their “writer’s share” of royalties to organisations supporting black people.
Outlining his plans to take a lead, he adds, “I don’t possess the expertise to manifest this initiative, but I can begin to do my part by committing 5% of my writer revenue to organisations that are working toward racial justice, which include but are not limited to Movement for Black Lives and Black Women’s Blueprint.”
Calling on his contemporaries to follow suit, he continues, “My small contribution alone is a sincere but insufficient gesture. Hundreds of us joining together could provide some tremendous relief. Thousands of us committing to a reparations initiative could change our business and the world we live in. Black Lives Matter. Thank you.”