Austin Organization Committing $100K To Black Musicians, Promoters, and Studios

Austin Organization Committing $100K To Black Musicians, Promoters, and Studios

Long before South by Southwest (SXSW) made Austin an annual destination for entertainment lovers, the city had already been deemed the Live Music Capital of the World, and, as with many metropolises, its reach can be attributed to the contributions of Black creatives.

This month, one organization is spreading the word on behalf of Black musicians, promoters, and studios with the tagline, “There is no Austin without US,” and pledging $100,000 to its efforts, according to KXAN Austin. The Diversity Awareness and Wellness in Action (DAWA) organization will showcase some of the city’s talent at Antone’s Nightclub in the downtown Austin area throughout June. The performances, which will take place every Friday, are part of a larger mission to rightfully honor the work Black artists do to create the heartbeat of cities like Austin that heavily rely on them to drive tourism and capital.

“From blues to rock, soul, hip-hop, house, and country, the sonic imprint of Black musicians is indelible,” said Jonathan ‘Chaka’ Mahone, founder and director of DAWA. “We have been here, producing abundantly, but our incredible fruits have not necessarily benefited us directly due to the industry practices in music cities like Austin around the country.” DAWA has also established a live music fund to help with costs for artists who regularly perform around the city, including DJ and producer Cecil ‘Starboy’ Lockwood. “Those funds, were able to just say, we see you doing your thing, being original giving back to the community,” Lockwood said. “And by giving funds that allows me to know, cool, somebody sees me and wants me to keep doing what I’m doing.”

The fund, created in 2020, will spread out its resources for the next two years to continue its support for Black artists in and around the Austin area. “There needs to be a shift in who benefits most from the work that is created, and the Black Live Music Fund wants to create space for new standards that center the artist/creator,” Mahone said.