By Toby Porter
Former England captain Rio Ferdinand has launched a programme of skills training and mentoring in South London with Stormzy’s music label.
Warner Music UK (WMUK) and The Rio Ferdinand Foundation will offer young people workshops and personal development programmes.
The label, which releases artists as diverse as Pa Salieu and Dolly Parton, will deliver skills training, career guidance, mentoring, seminars and workplace visits.
With Music Against Racism, they will raise awareness of racism and inequality in the UK, and provide a platform for young people to share their thoughts and solutions through music, spoken word, film and social media.
The programme in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham over the course of Black History Month will have sessions in the Grove Park Youth Club, Peckham and across Lambeth.
London South Bank University is offering studio space and recording time to spoken word and music that will showcase the talents of young people involved.
The Rio Ferdinand Foundation boss and Lambeth resident Gary Stannett said: “Our Foundation has always championed music and the arts in our work – it inspires young people and brings communities together from diverse backgrounds.
“South London in particular has a proud history of music and artists over the years, especially from our black communities, and so we are particularly pleased that this project will build on that history by inspiring, and crucially investing, in young people during Black History Month.’
Peckham-raised Mr Ferdinand said: “Music has always been a melting pot of cultures and speaks directly to people in a way they can enjoy and understand.
“Our United Against Racism programme has worked with the music industry and ambassadors alongside sport and film to share our message widely throughout 2021.
“This collaboration with Warner Music UK and Music Against Racism demonstrates the opportunities that businesses and charities working together can bring to create positive change in society.”
Tony Harlow, CEO of Warner Music UK said: “In Britain today, music and sport (especially football) are the most vibrant forces driving cultural conversation and change around diversity and inclusivity.
“Rio Ferdinand knew the power of this combination year’s ago and has always been passionate about British Black Music.
“He has built a strong, vibrant Foundation around this history.
Warner Music UK is proud to partner with him and his team. Other artists on Warners include Streatham-raised Dave, Lambeth-torn AJ Tracey, Dua Lipa, Wretch 32, Mist and Michael Buble.
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