No Label Academy

Source: Will Diamond / No Label Academy

No Label Academy (NLA), a non-profit initiative founded by 2020 Harvard graduates Miles Weddle and Marcelo Hanta-Davis, have partnered with rapper, producer and entrepreneur Jason “IDK” Mills to launch the second session of their revolutionary nine-day music industry seminar.

The seminar will take place from August 19th to August 27th on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. As a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for social progress through the arts, No Label is committed to empowering BIPOC students with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to jumpstart their careers in the music industry. NLA is excited to announce its return, and thrilled to see the impact that this innovative course will have on the music industry and beyond. With its commitment to social progress and innovation, NLA is truly setting the standard for educational excellence.

The last NLA seminar featured artists and industry notables such as the late Virgil Abloh (Artistic Director of Menswear at Louis Vuitton), Tremaine Emory (Creative Director of Supreme), Amber Grimes (Senior VP Capitol Music Group) Reggie Saunders(Jordan Brand) and Tuma Basa (Director of Black Music & Culture at YouTube). Last year’s NLA graduates received the opportunity to interview at prestigious companies such as: Nike, Logitech, WME, and Warner Records. This year’s seminar will feature some of the following guest speakers: Mannywellz, Tobe Nwigwe, Joey Badass, 24K Golden, Benny The Butcher, members of the Dior team, Nike/Jordan team and more.

The immersive, hands-on course, will offer advice, resources, job opportunities, and internships to help students pursue their dreams in the highly competitive music industry. Weddle, Hanta-Davis and IDK have re-imagined the classroom environment to help disadvantaged students build a sustainable career in the arts, and receive a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study at Harvard University. No Label Academy will host Kaash Paige as a featured attendee alongside twenty-two BIPOC students aged 18-25 (out of 1400 applicants) where travel, hotel, and meals will be generously provided as well.

“In 2022, the total revenue of the music business was close to $32 billion, but the industry has always been difficult to break into, especially for those from underserved backgrounds. Based on the program’s success in 2021, rapper/producer/entrepreneur IDK will continue to inspire students to make their aspirations a reality. We have created a revolutionary curriculum by partnering with actual practitioners, artists and executives,” said Weddle. “We’re continuing our goal of building a pipeline for systemically disadvantaged talent in the music industry. The support from our sponsoring global brands is key to achieving it. It shouldn’t cost so much to learn the music business at a college like Berklee and interns shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for their own internships every summer. All of this information should be accessible, which is why we created No Label Academy,” adds Hanta-Davis. Acknowledging the seriousness of No Label’s intensive program, IDK comments, “This ain’t no hobby type of shit.”

Participating sponsors for the course this year include: Nike, Jordan, Converse, Christian Dior, Warner Music Group, Microsoft, Timberland, a16z’s Cultural Leadership Fund/Andreessen Horowitz, YouTube, Sony Music Group, Fight Club, Lyft and Le Labo.

Dior will provide a specially designed uniform/capsule collection gifted to all graduates. The capsule collection features a sweatshirt, T-shirt made from Sea Island cotton and chino pants, all adorned with a Dior patch specific to the collaboration and in Harvard’s colors — burgundy, navy blue and cream. Dior Explorer moccasins with the CD diamond or Dior oblique graphics serve as the finishing touch. The news went live on August 1st via WWD stating “It’s a new kind of linkup for the fashion house and new kind of class for the Ivy League campus: With No Label Academy, IDK has created a new definition of higher education, one that’s focused more on a higher purpose and less on the traditional tenets of classroom teaching.” – WWD

The NLA seminar will be hosted at venues The Harvard School of Engineering, and The Harvard Art Museum, which will also be the site of the No Label Academy graduation which will showcase the Dior uniforms co-created by IDK and Kim Jones. Congrats to all of the students selected to attend the seminar!