The Cultural Reset Uplifts People of Color and LGBTQ+ Individuals

The Cultural Reset (TCR)’ is an organization that seeks to uplift the voices, artistic expression, and industry experiences of POC and LGBTQ+ artists navigating the music industry. Through conducting intimate, informational interviews with talent and publishing written reviews of album releases, TCR hopes to embolden underrepresented creatives and industry professionals to make a space for themselves in the music industry.

We Empower Magazine got an exclusive interview with TCR’s Creator and Editor-In-Chief, Nick Lee, and it’s Assistant Director, Shannon Ervin.

TCR’s Creator and Editor-In-Chief, Nick Lee

Nick, as Creator & Editor-In-Chief of The Cultural Reset, your passionate advocacy for cultural and ethnic diversity is certainly needed during these unprecedented times. Where does your passion come from?

N: I’ve always been particularly passionate about story-telling and uplifting underrepresented voices. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to have worked and interned at some incredibly influential companies in the entertainment industry that have allowed me to use this passion; however, in my work experience, I found there to be significant room for improvement in regards to inclusivity in entertainment.

While the television and film industries have already begun their march toward racial, cultural, and socioeconomic inclusion, the music industry still suffers from many of the same biases that have held back many creative communities—including creatives of color, LGBTQ+ creatives, and differently-abled creatives—from attaining mainstream success as artists.

There has always been an issue with gatekeepers in the music business deciding what and who is marketable to audiences. And yet, there is so much creative talent that defies the stereotyping and “cookie-cutter lifestyle” branding the industry is known for. Due to the industry’s focus on what is “marketable,” many of these talents go overlooked and underappreciated. 

That is what inspired me to start The Cultural Reset. TCR is an extension of my personal passion for telling untold stories and uplifting the art of incredible artists that defy the standard and create freely—artists whose voices and artistic expression are working to question the conventional and demonstrate the value of the unconventional.

In addition, given how tumultuous the past year has been with the pandemic, the BLM movement, and various protests against police-sanctioned brutality, it seemed like a perfect time to enact meaningful change in this field, specifically. It is something that I believe was long overdue and that I am happy to be able to build.

The Cultural Reset Assistant Director, Shannon Ervin


Shannon, as Assistant Director of The Cultural Reset, what impact has the organization made so far, and what continued impact do you intend to make? 

S: The Cultural Reset is having an impact on POC and/or LGBTQ+ creatives in the music industry. By bringing together and highlighting stories of POC and/or LGBTQ+ creatives TCR has opened the conversation of how POC/LGBTQ+ creatives are treated and put into a box in the music industry.

We have created a safe space for conservation and inspiration for creatives, aspiring creatives. We are creating the path for the non-mainstream, the explorative, and the individual expression. We intend to set an example not only for the music industry but the social culture as a whole. 

What do you love most about the work that you do?

N: My favorite part of the work we do with TCR is the Artist Interviews. Shay and I get the opportunity to sit down weekly with some of the most innovative and inspiring, emerging/established artists in the industry—and the conversations we have are beyond enlightening.

Getting the chance to understand the journey of these artists throughout the industry, as well as promote their artistry, has been such an enriching experience for me. We talk to creatives from a variety of different genres, backgrounds, racial/cultural/sexual identities and ALL of them have a story to tell—be it one of grief and regret, luck and wonder, or hard-work and perseverance. Each conversation we’ve had has been wrought with beautiful life-wisdom and/or career-advice that has benefited both me and our viewers immensely.

S: The conversations we have with creatives in our artist interview series. I always leave the call inspired and with a new friend. I truly feel that I get to know the artist in our 45 minutes together because we are vulnerable with each other. It’s a safe space and therapeutic to share the good, the bad, and the beautiful. 

I also love working with the volunteers. They are so hard-working, capable, and driven individuals. I am grateful for the work they do and the community we have created behind the scenes over zoom calls. 

Describe the Cultural Reset in 3 words?

N+S: Empowering creative liberation

How has TCR made an impact on you both personally and professionally?

N: Personally, I’ve found it to be another useful way for me to make tangible change in a field that is in great need of it. TCR has become a welcome addition to my personal sense of purpose when it comes to making the world more accepting of the people, stories, and creations that drive it, but remain undervalued. Professionally, TCR has allowed me the opportunity to meet and work alongside some of the best young creatives I have ever met in my life. Working beside them to bring such a vision to life, has been so eye-opening and has provided me a wealth of experience with creative collaboration and an intimate understanding of what it takes to create and grow an online media journalism/art promotion platform.

S: Personally I have been coming into myself as a leader and as a queer womxn. I feel like I have found a community I belong in, especially in my virtual social circle. In our artist interviews the artist is very open and vulnerable with us. I feel myself also open up and share my vulnerability with the artist in return. This has led to many conversations which I feel have helped me understand myself and others better. I love listening to others’ experiences and perspectives.

Professionally, I have had the opportunity to learn the steps of starting and organizing, supporting content and cultivating a community. There have been points where we know where we want to go but we don’t know how to get there. I love these challenges because we always find a solution and learn how to overcome technological barriers.

What do you think is the future of the music industry?

N: I wholeheartedly believe that the future of the music industry lies in the hands of the artist—now more than ever. Culturally, music lovers and artists alike are steering away from relying on large institutions for the publishing and distribution of music. There are a variety of avenues that exist now that make it so much easier for artists to connect directly with the artists of their choosing and monetarily support them without the presence of profit-splitting middlemen. The introduction of NFT’s and Soundcloud’s recent decision to pay all artists royalties based on listening time (in stark contrast to how streaming services have paid artists in the past), are two examples that come to mind that show how the value of the individual artists is becoming clearer and clearer. Thus I envision the future of music as being a more equal field on which all artists have a level playing field to succeed.

S: My vision of the future of the music industry is so free and unique. It highlights people for the creative that they are and embraces their style. The new music industry doesnt design artists to fill the role of previously successful artists for the purpose of marketability, but seeks to uplift the voice and passion of the creative.

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

N: I’m looking forward to TCR becoming the platform that bridges the gap between music business professionals and marginalized creatives. I’m really excited to be able to tell more stories and promote more incredible artists. And I’m also looking forward to making the platform even more inclusive by uplifting artists that are apart of differently-abled communities as well, so the music business professionals and young creatives that follow our platform can learn from their stories/experiences as well.

S: In 2021 I am looking forward to following the natural growth and outreach of TCR. I am excited to see our community grow and start to impact the lives of these artists we have connected with. In the fall when we reach one year old we will be able to circle back with the artist from our days and months after launch. It will be fun to revisit the creatives who have been with us since the beginning. 

What would you like the Cultural Reset Legacy to look like?

N+ S: We are leading The Cultural Reset to rebuild the music industry to not only include but celebrate the POC and LGBTQ+ creatives of the music industry. We hope that the path that we are forging to reevaluate the inclusivity of the music industry can also be applied to any and all industries which have taken advantage of the talents of POC and/or LGBTQ+ individuals without giving credit where credit is due. 

What else can we be on the lookout for from you both?

N+S: Keep an eye on our social media platforms. We will be announcing our events and upcoming collabs with other organizations and artists. We are also looking forward to expanding our YouTube and podcast content. The artists we interview are so revolutionary and are full of passion. We are looking to connect the talent we work with so that our virtual community can be used to connect artists in the real world to have a real-world impact. 

Keep up-to-date with The Cultural Reset by connecting on Instagram @tcresest and visiting the website

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