First cohort graduates from Nao’s 3T course for Black women

The first cohort of students has graduated from Nao’s 3T course, which provides Black women with knowledge and skills to join the live industry – so that when it returns it comes back better than before.

The programme launched in July 2020 as a proactive response to the music industry’s #BlackoutTuesday and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. It was run by Nao and Mura Masa, with funding from Native Management and Sony Music UK.

“For years we’d spoken about adding more Black women to our touring party, but we literally couldn’t find a single one for any of the technical roles,” said Nao. “Spurred on by what was happening around BLM we decided to stop talking about it and do something. As it turned out, there was no lack of women wanting to work in these roles, quite the opposite! They just couldn’t see a way in. It’s made me so happy to open that door a little and our great hope is that this group of amazing women then smash it down for the next generation.”

The 3T course is a free and comprehensive twelve-week programme designed to provide a broad set of technical touring skills and to create opportunities for a new generation of Black women in the live music sector. It received more than 500 applications from Black British women in less than eight hours upon opening earlier this year. This month the chosen ten applicants became the first cohort of students to graduate, after completing modules including lighting design, computer programming and audio engineering.

“We are always keen to support our artists and this idea really stood out,” said Damaris Rex Taylor, Director of Marketing at RCA UK and a leader for Sony Music UK’s Social Justice Fund. “It’s been a pleasure to partner with Nao, Mura Masa and Native Management on 3T – meeting the women and listening to how helpful they’ve found the course inspires us to do as much as we can to make our industry inclusive and open to all.”

The 3T course was supported in various capacities by a number of music industry stakeholders – 46 individuals and 17 companies contributed their time and resources to give the students a thorough introduction to the live sector. Guest speakers included Nao, Mura Masa, Damaris Rex-Taylor, Trevor Williams, Alexandra Ampofo, Whitney Boateng, Giles Kwakeulati King-Ashong, Kojo Samuel, Franki McDade, Tori Lucion, Ben Jackson, Selena Dion and Alex Cerutti.

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