Why Binta Brown left her successful career as an attorney for music

Abu Mubarik January 03, 2023
Binta Brown. Photo via Forbes/Binta Brown

Binta Brown is the founder of the artist management company omalilly projects. She is also the co-chair of the Black Music Action Coalition, and a music executive at Keep Cool/RCA Records. 

Brown quit her successful career in law to go into music as a form of protest and advocacy. Since then, she has interwoven her passions for music and theatre with racial justice activism, as stated by Barnard College, where she schooled.

According to Brown, Blacks built the music industry in America. However, they are not benefiting from the huge revenue the sector is generating. In this regard, Brown noted that it’s important for Blacks to claim equity in what they have created and sustained.

“The music business is built, by and large, on the backs of Black artists, producers, sounds, and the work of many Black executives and managers,” she told Barnard College. “We are generating absurd revenues across genres and have influenced American sound since the beginning of the U.S. music business.”

“This isn’t about creating a space: This is about claiming equity in what we’ve created and [generated]. It is about fundamental fairness. American music would not sound the way it does without Black artists.”

Brown co-founded Black Music Action Coalition in response to mass protests against police brutality in America. The focus of the organization is to create change in the music industry. As an executive at Keep Cool/RCA Records, she wants to ensure not only fairness, inclusivity, and anti-racism but positively change how record labels deal with artists.

In 2020, her activism was acknowledged by Billboard. She was named to Billboard’s 2020 “Women in Music” list and their “R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players” list.

Brown trained as a lawyer at the Columbia Law School after graduating from Barnard with a degree in political science and economics. She began her career in corporate law and worked as an associate for Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. She also became a partner in Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

“I spent much of my career as a corporate lawyer doing high-profile human rights work as part of my pro bono practice [and] engaging in politics,” she said. 

“I don’t believe there has ever been a time in my life when I haven’t advocated for the advancement, potential, dignity and humanity of all people, in particular those whose lives have been negatively affected by oppression and discrimination, those who have not known privilege.”

Brown has also served on several boards, including News Deeply, The African Technology Foundation and Technical Career Institutes. Others include 2U, Barnard College/Columbia University, American Theatre Wing, New York City Parks Foundation and Human Rights First.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: January 3, 2023


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