Mykaell Riley, Principal Investigator and Director of the Black Music Research Unit, has helped to launch a community arts-focused website for BAME creatives in collaboration with alumnae-founded Setting Da Standards (SDS) Entertainment.?

SDS-BAME-creatives
Tatenda Michael Manyarara for SDS Entertainment

The website, which was launched on 1 June, is an online directory of budding talent in the Croydon area platform, funded through The Arts Council’s National Lottery Project.?

It is a creative hub designed to serve Croydon’s local talent and redefine the Borough’s perception. It functions as a forum for artists to do interviews, perform live sessions and slowly cultivate their own fanbases. It also operates as an educational platform for young artists to start acquiring awareness and a familiarity with the business and contractual aspects of the music industry, as well as knowledge and information to get through barriers that many upstart musicians face.?

SDS Entertainment is a community arts company based in Croydon, founded in 2018 by Makeda Bennett-Amparbeng and Jade Reid, alumnae of the University’s Commercial Music course. Along with co-founding the website, Bennett-Amparbeng works at British Underground Limited, a music agency producing international showcases and strategic development projects like Atlanta, Georgia’s A3C Festival. Reid works as a freelance Artist Manager for contemporary R&B/Pop singer, songwriter, and dancer Deanna Chase.?

A former artist and music producer, Riley has been working alongside the two on the project. He is the Director of the Black Music Research Unit, whose research project Bass Culture aims to explore the impact and legacy of Jamaican music on the political, social, musical, and cultural landscape of Britain.

SDS Entertainment run a monthly event, known as SDS Hub Nights at The Front Room in Croydon, one of the only music venues left in the Borough. They plan to launch an artist development programme in 2020 to facilitate the ongoing penetration and mainstream breakthrough of UK acts.

Riley said: “Both students volunteered for the Bass Culture exhibition in 2018 and have continued their support ever since. As the relationship has grown, it has turned into an unofficial internship, with support going in both direction on both of our projects. So, when the Bass Culture project was asked to be a partner for the Arts Council application, it was a no-brainer. I am very proud of them having successfully develop an idea into a fully-fledged funded project.”

Learn more about Setting Da Standards on their website.?

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