fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Unsung Heroes 2020: Alexandra Ampofo

Unsung Heroes 2020, published in IQ 95 just before Christmas, is a tribute to some of the organisations and individuals who have gone above and beyond to help others during a year unlike any other – be that through their efforts to protect the industry, or helping those who were in desperate need.

We turned to the readership and asked you to nominate worthy causes and personalities for consideration as the inaugural members of our Unsung Heroes awards. Now, IQ can reveal the dozen most-voted Unsung Heroes of 2020, continuing with UK-based concert promoter Alexandra Ampofo, who joins the previously announced #feedourcrew in South Africa.


In addition to her regular duties as a promoter at Metropolis Music, Alex Ampofo has won praise from bosses for her consistent, caring communication with colleagues, as well as her tireless work with industry organisations Women Connect, Acoustic Live and Embrace Nation.

Ampofo launched Acoustic Live as an effort to keep stripped back music alive. “Over the last few months, we have been putting together webinars focused on moving the diversity dial in touring, hosting socially distanced music and poetry workshops, and continuing to support up-and-coming musicians with free services,” she tells IQ. “I also now sit on the board of directors for The F List, a directory of UK female musicians. Our mission is to help female and gender-minority musicians overcome structural barriers in the music industry.”

Also a not-for-profit female collective, Women Connect has a remit to create safer, inclusive spaces and equal opportunities for women, non-binary and gender-fluid people in the creative industry. Ampofo reports, “This year we managed to throw a sold-out international women’s party at Sony Music (pre-Covid), hosted themed online events to raise money for different charities, and started our own mentoring scheme with a full house of 20 mentees.”

“Our aim is to bring a new depth to understanding what our privileges are and encourage a safe space for open dialogue”

She continues, “Embrace Nation is also doing really well. We’ve had some great interaction in our company communications, and we’re doing our best to keep the conversations going, especially those about appropriate terminology, background and culture. Our aim is to bring a new depth to understanding what our privileges are and encourage a safe space for open dialogue.”

Also one of IQ’s New Bosses in 2020, Ampofo is inspiring other young people in the industry to engage in extra-curricular activities that, over time, will help make the live entertainment industry a better working environment.

She concludes, “It’s so important to communicate while we are all isolated, I think times like these can really highlight how vulnerable people actually are, and how much we rely on physical interaction in our day-to-day lives. Social media has made it easier to check in on our loved ones, that’s something to take advantage of if extra support is needed.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

The New Bosses 2020: Alexandra Ampofo, Metropolis Music

The New Bosses 2020 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 93 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, and A&R and production experts that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cream of the crop a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2020’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success. Catch up on the previous New Bosses interview with Primavera Sound booker Camila Salinas here.

The next New Boss in the spotlight is Alexandra Ampofo (26), a Coventry University business management and leadership graduate, who in addition to promoting shows heads up Metropolis Music’s diversity employee resource group, and started Embrace Nation at Live Nation UK – a cultural and learning hub that strives towards racial equality in and out of the workplace for all Live Nation employees.

She also works across The End Festival, Black Music Coalition, The F List and Unicef Music Group. Ampofo started her career in 2013, founding events company Acoustic Live, which focuses on stripped-back, acoustic live shows. Her second not-for-profit organisation, Women Connect, is a collective creating safer, inclusive spaces and equal opportunities for women and non-binary and gender-variant people in the creative industries.

 


What are you working on right now?
I have recently launched my website where all my services within live music will be collated. I have lots of information on there that I’m really proud of, so for now, I’m going to continue building on my portfolio. 

What are some of the highlights of your career to date?
Being blessed enough to be part of the team who put together the SiR tour at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in February. I’m such a big fan of his, so that was definitely a bucket list moment for me. Another highlight is starting my company Acoustic Live – founded when I was 19 and now an award-winning events company dedicated to keeping stripped back music alive. I’m able to facilitate free services for artists of all calibres and all I’ve ever wanted is to help break the glass ceiling. Acoustic Live provides artists with tangible opportunities, and that’s priceless.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt working in live music?
If you want loyalty, get a dog.

Did you always want to be a concert promoter?
Yes and no – I knew I always wanted to be involved in curating events and music, but I didn’t know there was an official job title for this type of career. I feel so blessed to be living my dream.

What impact has Covid-19 has on your job?
The live music industry has taken a real hit due to the pandemic but it’s not all been bad. It’s actually brought me closer to a lot of the people I work with, now that we’re having to take extra care. There’s a sense of togetherness that I really enjoy.

“The industry is slowly changing and there are so many women and people of colour spearheading that change”

Do you have a mentor in the industry?
I do – he’s fantastic and has taught me some lessons about valuing myself, tackling my imposter syndrome and living in my truth. I’ve always been someone who is quite sure of themselves but simultaneously shrinks their achievements to make interaction more comfortable. I’m growing away from that and I like the person I am becoming.

What does the live music industry do well, and what can we do better?
There’s nothing like a live show. The atmosphere, the music, the vibrations, frequency and the people. The live music industry creates a unique musical experience so well. There’s some shows I’ve attended which were genuinely life changing just because they were executed so intrinsically.

Diversity within the industry needs to be cranked up a few notches – it’s still nowhere near the desired goal. I would like to see increased inclusivity for black, Asian, mixed-heritage and minority ethnic groups, the LGBTQI+ community, wheelchair users and/or varied physical disability, learning disabilities, people with visual impairments, users of British sign language and people with hearing impairments.

What advice would you give to someone who’s new to the business?
Humility is key but don’t shy away from asking for what you deserve. I’d also say we are in the business of people, so get to know them.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a promoter
Ageism, race and gender. Sometimes people can be reluctant to work with younger promoters because they associate age with inexperience which I find isn’t always the case. Gender and race have played similar roles in my personal journey; the disparity that follows marginalisation is a huge one but I am pretty hopeful.

The industry is slowly changing and there are so many women and people of colour spearheading that change.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I see myself still working in live music and loving every second of it. This is where I am happy. 

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

The New Bosses: Introducing the class of 2020

The New Bosses 2020 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the business – launches today, celebrating the 12 most promising 30-and-unders in live music, as voted by their colleagues around the world.

This year’s list, the 13th, follows the most engaged voting process to date, with hundreds of people taking the time to nominate their New Boss picks.

Our distinguished dozen this year comprises promoters, bookers, agents, A&Rs and production experts, all involved in the international business and each of whom is making a real difference in their respective sector.

In no particular order, the New Bosses 2020 are:

“The class of 2020 is undoubtedly enduring the strangest, most challenging time of their careers,” writes IQ editor Gordon Masson, “but the hard work that they are putting in to ensure that the business globally is ready to resume at the earliest possible opportunity is generating a lot of enthusiasm among their peers, who have recognised them as future industry leaders.”

As in previous years, full interviews with each of the 2020 New Bosses will appear online in the coming weeks. However, short individual profiles of each New Boss can be read now in issue 93 of IQ Magazine, embedded below:


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Thank you, Black Out Tuesday

Black Out Tuesday was created by Jamila Thomas, senior director of marketing at Atlantic Records, and Brianna Agyemang, the senior artist campaign manager at Platoon. Tuesday 2 June 2020 saw business as usual halt in solidarity for black lives.

The entire world was shaken by the inhumane loss of George Floyd. Sadly he is not the only one whose life has been stolen at the hands of police brutality and racism – there are hundreds more, including recent cases Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. This had an effect on the black community I personally have never seen in my lifetime. Over the last week or so, I have seen and felt a sense of togetherness and support for black people, which we deserve… it is about time.

For me, Black Out Tuesday was a day of reflection and homage, and an opportunity to encourage a profound, uninterrupted level of education within our respective organisations. We used the opportunity to have an open dialogue, amplify black voices, address imperfections in our own policies, and discuss next steps towards tackling prejudice, discrimination and the outright racism black people are forced to endure.

Without this day, a lot of us wouldn’t have been able to gain the attention of our non-black counterparts; we wouldn’t have been able to open the dialogue with the same altitude of poise and tenacity.

Failure to address these key issues makes you complicit

So, what are the next steps?

The issues have been identified – now it’s time to present the facts. Where are your ethnicity pay gap and employee satisfaction reports? If they don’t exist, now is a good time to populate that data and work towards a safer space for black employees. Data is an extremely important tool and necessary for change.

If you have the capacity to roll out anti-racism training, do so. Educate where possible, and call out racist behaviour, because failure to address these key issues makes you complicit.

If you’re reading this and you’re an executive, a business owner, a manager, a CEO, a founder or anything in between, please ask yourself, “What can I do to spark change? What can I do to make sure my company policies reflect the black square I posted on Tuesday?”

This isn’t a gimmick: systemic and institutionalised racism affects people’s lives, and you have a duty of care.

This is a battle we have been fighting since the beginning of time and will continue to fight until there is real change. If Black Out Tuesday taught me anything, it’s that there is strength in numbers.

 


What else can you do?

Watch

Jane Elliot: Blue-eyed/brown-eyed experiment
Jane Elliot, an anti-racist activist and educator, devised this experiment following the assassination of Martin Luther King.

BFI collection: Black Lives
Portraits of public and private lives against the shifting social climate of 20th-century Britain.

BBC documentary: Will Britain Ever Have a Black Prime Minister?

Unfiltered with James O’Brien: Akala deconstructs race and class

BBC documentary: The Secret Windrush Files

 

Read

Reni Lodge: Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race

Afua Hirsh: Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging

Ibram X. Kendi: How to Be an Antiracist

Ijeoma Oluo: So You Want to Talk About Race

Robin DiAngelo: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism

Michelle Alexander: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

 

Donate

Black LGBTQIA Therapy Fund

Support RECESS

Women Connect
A collective creating safer, all-inclusive spaces, good fortune and equal opportunities for women and non-binary folks in the creative industry.

Black Ticket Project
Award-winning initiative creating cultural access points for black young people.

Exist Loudly Fund to Support Queer Black YP

 


This article originally appeared in issue 90 of IQ Magazine (July 2020). Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.