On October 28th, the Artist Empowerment Coalition
(AEC) will kick off its first benefit concert in a series that will continue
through 2003. Artists scheduled to perform include legendary Stevie Wonder,
DMX, Roberta Flack, Faith Evans, Montell Jordan, Scarface, Naughty by Nature,
Hezekiah Walker, Doug E. Fresh and many others.
The coalition plans to use the concert series
as a platform to raise public awareness for recording and performing artists
worldwide. “The Artist Empowerment Coalition represents a long overdue
opportunity for artists, whose cries for information and fairness have been
ignored,” says AEC representative and recording artist Roberta Flack.
In an effort to effect positive change in the
entertainment industry, the AEC has adopted a formal structure that focuses
on artist empowerment and accountability by the entertainment industry. Key
priorities that head up the AEC’s agenda include ownership of masters and
music publishing, limitations on long-term recording contracts, pension and
health benefits, piracy, diversity, equal opportunity and artistic integrity.
AEC’s uniqueness is based on their push for equitable treatment for all
New York based entertainment attorney and General
Counsel to the AEC, L. Londell McMillan joined multi-platinum artist Montell
Jordan in testimony for the Joint Hearing of the California Senate Committee
on Judiciary and the California Senate Select Committee on the Entertainment
Industry. McMillan, who is known for his work in winning freedom for artists,
like Prince and rap artists The Lox and Ja Rule told AllHipHop.com in a statement:
"Today’s difficult times in the music industry require a genuine system
of partnership and commitment, not a system of ongoing indentured servitude."
McMillan said that he considered artists "sharecroppers"
who were subjected to indentured servitude by record labels and says that the
only real way to accomplish change is to rally artists in the community in a
movement to take back their power.
"It’s time to get it on – I might even write
a speech!," DMX said.