After penning an anonymous letter about racial tension and injustice at record companies that Billboard published last Thursday as it circulated through the music business, veteran executive Ray Daniels has now signed it with his own name.
Daniels, 40, has worked at all three major record companies, but is currently senior vp A&R at Warner Records. He tells Billboard that he decided to reveal his identity and stand behind the letter so that he could help lead change.
“Since the letter was posted I’ve seen all my peers posting it everywhere — I’ve read their testimonies and struggles. Then I started getting calls from different people saying they heard it was me, and how important it is that we don’t let this message die,” Daniels said in an email to Billboard. “I heard so many painful stories about systematic racism in the music business, even from some of the most powerful people in the world.
“As I sat around pondering how to keep the conversation going, I thought about all the civil unrest around us, the revolution happening in the streets. It was all because the movement finally had a face. A face that can’t be ignored. George Floyd was murdered in a way that can’t be defended. But we all know it’s not just for George — it’s for all the Georges who we’ve seen die over and over again. So in order to keep the movement going forward, I decided it’s not just about me protecting my career, it’s about all the ‘Ray Daniels’ out there who’ve lived these experiences that they can’t talk about because they don’t want to lose the jobs they need to feed their families. So now, if anyone wants to challenge our sentiments and our experiences, or more importantly, discuss solutions, I am here to respond.
Daniels, who splits his time between Atlanta and Los Angeles, says his own next order of business is to work together with Warner “to lead the example of how change needs to happen, and allow this to be the example all other major entertainment companies follow.”