Howard University School of Business Announces $4.9 Million Gift from Warner Music Group / Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund

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Business students working on laptopWASHINGTON – The Howard University School of Business announces a $4.9 million gift from Warner Music Group / Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund (WMG/BFF SJF). The gift will fund the creation of a new music business center.

“I’d like to thank the Warner Music Group and the Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund for this significant gift to launch the music business center at Howard University. The contributions of African-American artists to the music and entertainment business are significant, but people of color are still underrepresented on the management side of the industry,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “This gift to the School of Business honors the historic legacy Black people have made in the industry while making a crucial investment in today’s students who will become the leaders of tomorrow.”

The center will serve as an academic hub to prepare Howard’s diverse students for careers on the management side of the music industry. It will provide a space for curriculum development, internship opportunities, executive-in-residence and certification programs.

“We are very excited about this investment from the Warner Music Group / Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund,” said Howard University School of Business Dean Anthony D. Wilbon, Ph.D. “Through the center we will prepare Howard students for management leadership positions and create a pipeline to help diversify all levels of this influential business. Our goal is to prepare students with the skills necessary to succeed, provide the networking opportunities to gain exposure to industry leaders, and create long term impact in the entertainment board rooms.”   

The center will offer a one-year fellowship program for high potential students interested in pursuing careers in the music industry. The program provides fellows with coaching, specialized curriculum, mentorship and hands-on industry experience working with influential partner organizations. Students will also receive exclusive access to insider perspectives through an executive in residence program that engages industry leaders. Through the center, music executives will participate in a series of fireside chats, master classes and other programming that will expose students to the lived experiences of working in the industry. Finally, the center will provide engaging programming for all members of the Howard University community and the broader community to participate in, including guest lectures, business case competitions, and more.

"As a Howard alum, I could not be prouder to have played a role in bringing this much-needed music center to my alma mater,” said Julian Petty, Fund Advisory Board member and EVP and Head of Business & Legal Affairs, Warner Records. “It will also serve as an important step forward in creating a better pipeline of Black executives in the music business, and I am confident that it will help nurture the next generation of industry leaders."

The WMG/BFF SJF was established in June 2020 in response to the brutal killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black people that sparked protests for social justice. With a grantmaking strategy focused on the key pillars of education, criminal justice, and cultural and performing arts, the Fund will invest in organizations around the globe that build more equitable communities. It will prioritize contributions to those organizations that create real change in the lives of historically underserved and marginalized populations – with heightened attention to Black communities.

“The music industry is ever evolving but one constant has been the influence that Black culture and Howard University has on the landscape,” said Assistant Dean of Impact and Engagement and Associate Professor of Marketing, Yuvay M. Ferguson, Ph.D.  “It is important for us to own this influence as artists, curators, and business professionals. This new academic center is going to give the next generation of Bison the advantage of exposure and insight. Our goal is for these students to have the benefit of walking a path blazed before them by Bison in the industry like Tarik Brooks, Joi Brown, Mark Pitts, Julian Petty, Young Guru, Sydney Margetson, Jazz Young and Sean Combs.”

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About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.



Media Contact: Misha Cornelius, misha.cornelius@howard.edu