Mother, business owner, CEO and board member, Charisse Beaumont takes the things she is passionate about, and puts them into action. She is very successful in the music industry, and has taken that energy into new places. Here Marlene Cato, from Keep The Faith, asks Charisse some very insightful questions.
Keep The Faith (KTF): Please tell us about yourself and what you do.
Charisse Beaumont (CB): I am owner of Beaumont Media Worldwide; Chief Executive at Fight for the Dignity of African Women and Children (FDAWC), and I sit on the board of Help Musicians. I used to own Preacher Boy Entertainment, a record label and management company, where we handled artists, such as Jahaziel, S.O., E-Tizz and G.P., and were instrumental to the careers of Lecrae and Da TRUTH in the UK.
KTF: What is the organisation you represent, and their aims and key functions?
CB: At Help Musicians, our aim is to support musicians from the start of their careers through to retirement. We have a creative programme, providing grants to musicians to help build their career, and we run artist development, mentoring and business programmes to help accelerate the artist’s career.
We help musicians through our health and welfare programme, whether you are a musician facing a crisis, such as sudden illness or disability, or facing retirement. We run the Musicians’ Hearing Scheme, which helps musicians facing hearing loss, and provides hearing tests and subsidised hearing aids.
We also run the Music Minds Matter – our mental health scheme – providing 24/7 support for musicians dealing with mental health issues. Musicians such as Kanye West regularly speak out concerning their own issues. We are here to help all musicians.
FDAWC is an international charity based in the UK, France, Sierra Leone, Morocco, Ghana and the Ivory Coast. We work tirelessly to stop cultural traditions and gender-based violence (such as rape, domestic violence, child marriage, sexual cleansing, female genital mutilation, etc.) destroying thousands of African women’s lives.
There are six ways we work with victims to help rebuild their lives:
• Providing aid, such as shelter, food, clothing and other essential items
• Safe-houses for families fleeing violence
• Counselling for the victims of African cultural atrocities
• Education for children from low-income families
• Education and training for families about culture
• Income generation and training activities
KTF: What are your roles in these organisations?
CB: At Help Musicians I sit on the board, and provide perspective and advice, especially when serving as an advocate for Black musicians and the music business as a whole. I also serve as chief executive at FDAWC; I am at the helm of leading and growing the charity, as we continue to fight for women to walk towards cultural freedom.
KTF: What have your organisations been focusing on during COVID-19?
CB: I am very proud of Help Musicians’ response to the pandemic. Help Musicians pledged £5 million to the Musician Hardship Fund, where unemployed musicians can apply for a £500 grant to help them during this financial crisis. We had over 17,000 applicants in the first 48 hours.
At FDAWC, through our #DignityforAll campaign, we have been providing care packages to vulnerable families, which include food, nappies, essential items and cleaning products. We run errands for those who cannot leave the house. We provide emergency accommodation for women and their families fleeing domestic violence, and run a young people’s online programme to prevent vulnerable young people from being groomed into modern-day slavery. We host online events, video game competitions and teach formal subjects, such as maths, English and cultural studies. We are supporting over 70 families in the UK, Morocco and the Ivory Coast.
KTF: How has the death of George Floyd impacted you/your organisation?
CB: Personally, I am tired of systemic racism and our people being treated as less than nothing. Honestly, enough is enough. I believe this is a time of reckoning and a move of God amidst the chaos and distress. At Help Musicians, we’re examining how to help Black musicians. We are currently working on a Black Lives Matter project, and KTF will be the first to know when we are ready to launch!
KTF: What changes would you like to make going forward?
CB: At Help Musicians, we plan to examine our organisation and make changes to reflect the diversity of the music industry as a whole, to represent every genre of music, and be equipped to help all musicians.
At FDAWC, we have just opened our first refuge centre for vulnerable families in Morocco, eg. families fleeing cultural abuse refugees fleeing violent countries, etc.
KTF: What are you happy with and why?
CB: 2020 has been a difficult year for most people and I am happy to see the worldwide response in such a tragic time, and especially to hear the powerful, global voice of the young people fight against racial inequality. Local communities have stepped up to help the vulnerable and needy. In the midst of such challenge we have witnessed the resilience and love of humanity. I pray this unity will continue. Love always wins.
For more information, visit www.fdawc.org/donate and www.helpmusicians.org.uk.