The Orchard is excited to announce the inaugural launch of the Fresh Crop Mentorship Program, an initiative created to empower Black and underrepresented communities with opportunities to connect and engage with current members of the music community. The Orchard hopes that the commencement of this program will help increase representation of Black employees at all levels in the music industry but also create a more equitable society as a whole. Naledi Nyahuma Seck, Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at The Orchard, will be spearheading the program, managing the logistics and pairing employees from The Orchard with mentees. The Fresh Crop Program will partner with three nonprofit programs: All Star Code, Back Spinz, and the Diverse Representation Black Music Executives Pipeline.
First up, All Star Code, is a nonprofit computer science education organization committed to equipping young members of the Black and Latino community with the power of code. The Orchard partnered with All Star Code earlier this year to take part in a virtual Hackathon. High school students learned about unique career opportunities which combine both technology and music. Students worked with The Orchard mentors and were given Code Challenges to compete to be the Hackathon winners. Now, The Orchard will be providing mentors who specialize in technology to pair up with a mentee for the duration of the full five-week program.
Back Spinz also aims to change the lives of youth by introducing them to creative music-centered outlets. The program falls within the Rap Snacks Foundation’s Boss Up Initiative which is founded on the belief that our youth are the driving force behind culture and innovation, and are the most “powerful diverse vehicles for social good.” Back Spinz provides a 16 week STEAM program where participants learn about financial literacy, music production, audio engineering, and other aspects of the music business. The Orchard will also be participating by pairing up each student with an employee mentor to share their industry knowledge.
In addition to inspiring students, The Fresh Crop Initiative aims to provide guidance for rising music professionals who have at least two years of experience. To work toward this goal, The Orchard has committed a mentor to the Black Music Executives Pipeline Program, a three-month program to equip participants with the tools and skills necessary to succeed as executives in the music industry. Diverse Representation and Color of Change joined forces to build this program with the intention to increase representation of Black executives in leadership positions. Beyond this program, Diverse Representation provides a comprehensive online database of professionals working in these industries as well as networking events throughout the country.
Stay tuned for more updates as The Orchard’s Fresh Crop Mentorship program continues to evolve.