The Recording Academy Partners With United Nations Human Rights-Supported Global Music Initiatives To Promote Social Justice Around The World
United Nations Human Rights

Graphic Courtesy of United Nations Human Rights

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The Recording Academy Partners With United Nations Human Rights-Supported Global Music Initiatives To Promote Social Justice Around The World

The first activation — the Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series — will enlist major artists to call attention to the human rights implications of climate change.

Recording Academy/Apr 5, 2023 - 02:00 pm

The Recording Academy has always championed a better world via the power of music — and now, we’ve made a tremendous leap toward this mission.

As the world’s foremost society of music professionals, we are teaming up with several United Nations Human Rights-supported global initiatives to harness the power of music to promote social justice around the world. This newly announced multifaceted campaign will engage major artists to use their talents and unique platform to galvanize support for United Nations Human Rights goals, including advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights, gender equality, women's empowerment, climate justice, and a broad range of other human rights issues.

The Right Here, Right Now Music initiative — which launches today by the Recording Academy and the Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Alliance (Right Here, Right Now) — aims to combat the human rights crisis resulting from climate change.

The first activation is the Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series, which will bring together some of the most popular arena acts to perform in small iconic concert venues around the globe, while shining a light on alarming climate issues such as floods, droughts, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, food insecurity, clean water, ocean acidity, deforestation, mental health, and more.

Hosted by United Nations Human Rights and the Recording Academy, the Mini Global Climate Concert Series will kick off Thursday, April 13, at the Boulder Theater in Colorado with headliner Wesley Schultz, lead singer and co-founder of the two-time GRAMMY-nominated band the Lumineers, with special guests including six-time GRAMMY-nominated artist Yola.

The inaugural concert, which will be filmed by Citizen Pictures for a later broadcast, is being produced by AEG Presents and supported by the University of Colorado Boulder. Right Here, Right Now Music is planning to host Mini Global Climate Concerts in numerous cities on multiple continents, with discussions already underway for potential events in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, London, Johannesburg, Bogotá, and Dubai.

Proceeds from Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concerts will go to United Nations Human Rights climate justice initiatives and MusiCares, the leading music charity providing music professionals health and human services across a spectrum of needs. The Right Here, Right Now MusiCares Fund is being established to focus relief efforts for music communities impacted by the climate crisis.

"We are honored to be working with several United Nations-supported global music initiatives to bring together artists and create unique music events to promote social justice around the world," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. said. "Music has no boundaries so we are excited to partner with the artist community and work with the United Nations to further their human rights goals and ultimately, better the world."

"We are proud to help launch the new Right Here, Right Now Music initiative and its first activation, the Mini Global Climate Concert Series, where artists will amplify awareness of the human rights crisis resulting from climate change," Recording Academy President Panos A. Panay said. "Being the son of a UN worker, this partnership has deep personal resonance."

"It is a privilege and honor to be partnering with the Recording Academy in the development of multiple global music initiatives supported by United Nations Human Rights, including Right Here, Right Now Music, which will elevate global awareness to help reframe climate change as the human rights crisis that it is. Music provides a platform for the biggest megaphone in the world, and working with the Recording Academy, the most renowned music organization in the world, will help ensure the Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series gives voice to those who all too often have none," said David Clark, founder and CEO of Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Alliance.

"We're also thrilled to be kicking off the concert series in Boulder,” he added, “as the city has become the 'Davos of Climate Change,' since the University of Colorado Boulder recently convened world leaders, top climate experts, business leaders, and human rights advocates, along with students from our Education Coalition that includes over 2,300 universities – for the Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Summit co-hosted with United Nations Human Rights last year." 

Since its unveiling at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Alliance has emerged as the largest public-private partnership addressing climate change as a human rights issue, assembling human rights experts, scientists, corporate leaders, NGOs, academics, advocates, and people around the globe in the fight for rights-based climate action to preserve our common future.

Major artists and celebrities have lent their voice in support of the alliance and United Nations Human Rights, including Quincy Jones, Celine Dion, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cher, Camila Cabello, Annie Lennox, LL Cool J, Cyndi Lauper, Pitbull, Jack Black, the Lumineers, Ellen DeGeneres, Jeff Bridges, Edward Norton, Bob Weir, Dead & Company, Kesha, Joss Stone, and Michael Franti, among many others. Right Here, Right Now celebrity social media campaigns to date have collectively reached nearly a billion followers with messages about climate justice. 

"Music has a unique ability to bring together people from every walk of life to address important environmental and social justice issues. Throughout history, music has been an important outlet for communication, cultural expression, and expression of dissent. As the Global Partner of the Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Alliance, UN Human Rights welcomes the news that the Recording Academy will be joining the alliance as the Global Partner of Right Here, Right Now Music, in order to help promote our mutual goals and objectives to help prevent the worst impacts of the climate catastrophe on persons, groups and peoples in vulnerable situations," said Benjamin Schachter, UN Human Rights Team Leader for Environment and Climate Change.

The Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Concert at Boulder Theater is being advised on best sustainability practices by Sound Future Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating climate innovation for the live event industry, as well as leveraging the power of the industry to catalyze climate innovation.

Keep watching this space for more exciting news and initiatives about how the Recording Academy is fostering a better world via the bona fide universal language of music.

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(L-R) David Clark, Chantel Sausedo, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and Head, Office of the United Nations Ilze Brands Kehris, and Harvey Mason jr. attends the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, hosted by The Recording Academy and UN Human Rights on September 19, 2023 in New York City.

Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Recording Academy & United Nations Human Rights Celebrate 75th Anniversary Of The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights

Angélique Kidjo and JP Saxe performed an intimate set at the Recording Academy New York Office ahead of the international Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concerts.

Recording Academy/Sep 20, 2023 - 02:15 pm

Climate justice and rights-based climate action are among the most pressing issues of the modern era. Naturally, United Nations Human Rights is committed to this fight — and it understands that music is the universal language.

That's why the organization partnered with the world's leading society of music people — the Recording Academy — to ring in the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

And they did it at the Academy's New York Chapter Office, with a gripping performance by five-time GRAMMY winner Angélique Kidjo and GRAMMY nominee JP Saxe. Dubbed a Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Concert, the event leads off a series of the same name.

"We are immensely proud to have celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in our Recording Academy New York office and I'm thrilled to continue our impactful partnership with the United Nations," Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement.

The concert series aims to bring together some of the most popular arena acts to perform in small iconic concert venues around the globe while shining a light on climate issues such as floods, droughts, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, clean water, ocean acidity, deforestation, as well as food insecurity, mental health, and more.

Other cities being considered for Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concerts in 2024 include Berlin, London, Kigali, Seoul, and Rio de Janeiro. Wesley Schultz of the two-time GRAMMY-nominated band the Lumineers and six-time GRAMMY-nominated British singer-songwriter YOLA performed at the first U.S. concert held earlier this year in Boulder, Colorado.

"I look forward to working alongside UN Human Rights," he continued, "to showcase how the power of music can raise awareness and help promote change surrounding human rights issues around the world," Mason jr continued.

Proceeds from Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concerts will go to United Nations Human Rights climate justice initiatives and MusiCares, the leading music charity providing music professionals health and human services across a spectrum of needs. The Right Here, Right Now MusiCares Fund was established this year to focus relief efforts for music communities impacted by climate crisis.

Said David Clark, founder and CEO of Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Alliance, parent organization of Right Here, Right Now Music: "The United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights document was created after the upheaval of WWII to outline individual human rights for everyone.

"As we celebrate its 75th anniversary," he continued, "we are proud to use it as the foundation to bring world attention to the human rights implications resulting from climate change, as the poor and marginalized continue to bear the brunt of it.

"Through our upcoming Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concerts," Clark added, "we seek to reframe the climate crisis as the fundamental human rights crisis that it is and thank the Recording Academy and UN Human Rights for being such dedicated partners in this worldwide effort."

Since its unveiling at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Alliance has emerged as the largest public-private partnership addressing climate change as a human rights issue, assembling human rights experts, scientists, corporate leaders, NGOs, academics, advocates, and people around the globe in the fight for rights-based climate action to preserve our common future.

Keep checking RecordingAcademy.com for more info about the Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concerts, and the Academy's thrilling, ongoing collaboration with United Nations Human Rights.

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How The Recording Academy And United Nations Human Rights Are Tackling Climate Change: 5 Takeaways From The Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series
Wesley Schultz of the Lumineers performing at the Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series at the Boulder Theater in Colorado on April 13, 2023

Photo: Dave Arnold

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How The Recording Academy And United Nations Human Rights Are Tackling Climate Change: 5 Takeaways From The Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series

The first activation of the Recording Academy's collaboration with United Nations Human Rights featured impassioned speeches about climate change and unforgettable performances from the Lumineers frontman Wesley Schultz and special guest Yola.

Recording Academy/Apr 28, 2023 - 04:58 pm

For centuries, music has soundtracked the fight for societal change and revolutions around the world. From the protest anthems of the Civil Rights Movement to the powerful songs fueling the protests in Iran, music has remained an essential ingredient in the ongoing battle for progress and universal equality. Now, the Recording Academy, in partnership with United Nations Human Rights, continues this long tradition of championing progress via music.

This month, the Recording Academy announced a partnership with several United Nations Human Rights-supported global initiatives that aims to promote global social justice via the power of music. The multifaceted campaign will invite leading artists to use their talents and platforms to advocate for United Nations Human Rights goals, including advocating for the rights of women and the LGBTQ+ community as well as a host of other human rights issues, including gender equality and climate justice.

The Right Here, Right Now Music initiative — a partnership between the Recording Academy and the Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Alliance (Right Here, Right Now) — aims to combat the human rights crisis resulting from climate change, a timely issue impacting vurnerable communities around the world.

The Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series, the first activation in this newly announced partnership, addressed this important issue head-on. The concert, held in Colorado's iconic Boulder Theater on Thursday, April 13, enlisted major artists, including the Lumineerslead singer and co-founder Wesley Schultz and special guestYola, as well as leaders in the music and intergovernmental industries to call attention to the human rights implications of climate change.

The powerful performances from Yola and Schultz — combined with speeches addressing the importance of utilizing music as a tool to combat climate change — created an atmosphere of longing with an undercurrent of hope for the future.

"I wanted to show our support for these hosts, the Recording Academy and the United Nations [Human Rights], at this forum that addressed the interconnectedness of human rights and climate change," Schultz told the Recording Academy via email about his involvement in the Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series. "As touring musicians, we can raise awareness about sustainable goals and inspire dialogue about the global climate crisis. As touring musicians, we can raise awareness and amplify calls to action for governments, education, businesses, and individuals to fight the global climate crisis.

"It is everyone's responsibility to help battle climate change," he continued. "But as touring musicians, we must work to seek out real solutions to the sizable carbon footprint that being on the road causes. That's why I'm working with an organization like Sound Future, who are working on finding systemic fixes to help touring become more carbon neutral."

The Recording Academy attended the inaugural Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series in person. Below are five key takeaways from the collaborative launch event.

The Event's Location Was Chosen Deliberately

Photo of the outdoor marquee sign at the Boulder Theater in Colorado for the Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series on April 13, 2023

*Outdoor marquee sign at the Boulder Theater in Colorado for the Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series on April 13, 2023 | Photo: David Rose*

David Clark, founder and CEO of Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Alliance, explained that launching the Mini Global Climate Concert Series in Boulder, Colorado, an area he described as a "hotbed" for climate justice, was a very conscious choice.

"We've got amazing national labs that are coming up with cutting-edge technology, cutting-edge data, research that's shaping the climate dialogue around the world," he said at the concert.

Boulder was also the home of last year's Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Summit, which hosted experts from over 100 nations, including Mary Robinson, the former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and the President of Ireland.

The Climate Crisis Is A Human Crisis

The climate crisis already disproportionately impacts socially vulnerable groups: women, children, low-income families, and other historically marginalized communities.

"Human-caused climate change has already caused substantial and irreversible damage to ecosystems and livelihoods with disproportionate impacts on people in ongoing situations," Benjamin Schachter, UN Human Rights Team Leader for Environment and Climate Change, explained from the stage.

Schachter emphasized that countless lives have been lost due to the climate crisis already, and millions of people are displaced by climate and weather-related disasters annually.

Music Creates Powerful Connections

Photo featuring (L-R) David Clark, Harvey Mason jr., Chantel Sausedo, Benjamin Schachter

*(L-R) David Clark, Harvey Mason jr., Chantel Sausedo, Benjamin Schachter | Photo: David Rose*

The Recording Academy has a long history of championing change through the power of music — a point highlighted throughout the Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series.

"Music is a crucial means of [catalyzing transformative action]," Schachter said. "It constitutes a common language, a means of expression."

"Music has some special abilities," Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, explained in an impassioned speech from the stage. "It has the ability to give a voice to those that have none, to shine a light on injustices that exist in our world, and to inspire us all to take action."

Mason jr. also amplified an impactful message that reflected the theme of the night: Music is not just a means for entertainment, but a "powerful tool to galvanize social movements to speak the truth, the power to create community and to bring disparate people together for a common cause."

The World Must Band Together

Photo of Yola performing at the Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series at the Boulder Theater in Colorado on April 13, 2023

*Yola performing at the Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series at the Boulder Theater in Colorado on April 13, 2023 | Photo: David Rose*

Internationally acclaimed and GRAMMY-nominated guest artist Yola performed a no-frills set of raw, vocally driven songs intertwined with the mellow strum of her acoustic guitar. Many of Yola's songs spoke to her newfound strength to stand up for herself, a concept she explored on her 2021 album, Stand For Myself, and clap back at those in power — an appropriate theme that resonated throughout the environmental justice concert.

"This next one might be a little on the nose," Yola chuckled on stage as she introduced her aptly named, GRAMMY-nominated song, "Diamond Studded Shoes," and described the diamond-studded heels of a politician who was "slapping the meals out of kids' hands." The song's moving lyrics — "For the life and soul of the world we know/Fight, 'cause the promise is never gonna be enough" — and theme fully captured the message of the night: Even if things might be bad, resistance is possible and "it'll be fine if we just band together," she said.

Small Actions Lead To Impactful Change

Photo of Wesley Schultz of the Lumineers performing at the Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series at the Boulder Theater in Colorado on April 13, 2023

*Wesley Schultz of the Lumineers performing at the Right Here, Right Now Mini Global Climate Concert Series at the Boulder Theater in Colorado on April 13, 2023 | Photo: Dave Arnold*

Wesley Schultz of the Lumineers took the stage to thunderous applause. Like Yola, Schultz's performance was an unedited glimpse at his raw talent: a 45-minute set composed of just his voice and an acoustic guitar.

Between songs – some of which were covers, others originals – Schultz shared stirring glimpses into his personal life, from his dad's death to a psychedelic-infused trip he had with his wife.

Schultz also shared that his wife, Brandy, is a co-founder of Sound Future, a nonprofit focused on "accelerating climate innovation for the live event industry," according to the organization's website. He explained how Sound Future used flexible solar panels and the heat of the Texas sun to power the stage at Willie Nelson's concert in Luck, Texas.

"It's a very simple idea, right? That we can turn certain things that seem really daunting into something that's very doable," Schultz reflected on the stage. "I think we can all make these little steps here and there, [combined] with the brilliant minds that people have out there, to make some innovation, to make [live shows] a little more friendly on the environment."

Learn more about the Recording Academy's and United Nations Human Rights' partnership, and stay tuned for future news and developments.

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