Columbia University’s Program to Introduce Young Women of Color to the Music Industry

The department of music at Columbia University in New York City has launched a multi-year program, “For the Daughters of Harlem: Working in Sound.” The program brings young women of color from public high schools in Manhattan and the Bronx to Columbia for workshops on recording and producing their own music.

The program was first established in 2017 when the university received a grant supporting the project from the Columbia chapter of the Collaborative to Advance Equity through Research, an Obama White House effort to study and address the education, health, and social service disparities faced by girls and women of color. Daughters of Harlem was founded by Dr. Ellie Hisama, a professor of music at Columbia, who currently co-directs the project with Dr. Luci Vágnerová, a core lecturer in music humanities.

For two consecutive Sundays, the Daughters of Harlem participants gather on Columbia’s campus to work with professors, graduate students, and guest instructors. They learn about the uses and values of music in everyday life and work in small groups in recording studios, and collaborate with professional musicians. At the end of their program, the girls showcased their work in a public performance attend by family, friends, community members, and faculty from Columbia and Barnard College.

“It enriches our industry to have diversity, to have women in every facet of the business, not just in production and engineering, but also in marketing, business development and legal issues,” said Ebonie Smith, an award-winning music producer, engineer and singer-songwriter, who led a workshop in October. “The industry that I’m in needs to reflect the world that I live in.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Alcorn State University Recruited for Federal Student Pathway Program for Careers in Public Service

The Pathway Public Service Program was established in 2019 to develop the next generation of diverse, qualified, and motivated public health servants. Over the past five years, the program has hired over 100 student interns.

Five Black Scholars Selected for New Faculty Positions

The five Black scholars who aer taking on new roles are Khadene Harris at Rice University in Houston, Nakia Melecio at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Bettina Drake at Washington University in St. Louis, Arlette Ngoubene Atioky at Goucher College in Maryland, and Kandi Hill-Clarke at the University of Memphis.

Getty Images to Preserve Digital Photo Archives at Delaware State University

Currently, Delaware State University's photo archives contain thousands of photographs taken over the course of the university's 133 year history. Thanks to a new partnership with Getty Images, those images will be digitized and made available on

Porché Spence Recognized for Outstanding Commitment to Advancing Diversity in Ecology

Dr. Spence currently serves as an assistant professor of environmental studies at North Carolina A&T State University. Throughout her career, she has developed several educational programs geared towards introducing students of color to environmental science fields.

Featured Jobs