Noelle Scaggs, Founder, Diversify The Stage; Co-Lead, Fitz & The Tantrums
Noelle Scaggs, who joined Fitz & The Tantrums as co-lead singer in 2008, in the last year took a very different path than many of her fellow artists – one that will impact the way concert crews and stages look from now on.
As the founder of Diversify The Stage, Scaggs made it her mission to “create more accessible pipelines to equitable opportunities for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, female-identifying and gender- nonconforming communities in concerts, events and touring industries.”
The journey has been fulfilling, and she quickly made alliances with other movers and shakers working toward more diversity and inclusivity in the live entertainment business, including those striving to see more traditionally underrepresented faces on crews as well as in educational programs and internships.
So, while it was difficult for some to find much to be positive about in 2020, Scaggs perceives it differently.
“I have been able to work with, and learn about, so many incredible organizations working to bring young people into the music industry, and really making a concerted effort in supporting their journeys,” Scaggs says. “I have also enjoyed seeing the awakening of the world as it relates to social justice, and becoming more informed.”
The silver lining of the pandemic shutdown, Scaggs points out, is that it presented an ideal opportunity for the live business to put its money where its collective mouth is.
“We need to have concrete steps put in place to begin addressing these issues before we begin getting back to work,” Scaggs explains. “I am seeing this progress begin, there are a number of leaders and alliances that have formed in the industry that are finally talking to one another and working towards solutions, but this is a long play and one that will take collaboration if we want to see significant change.”
Thanks to Scaggs’ efforts and those of her colleagues in and outside of Diversify The Stage, there’s no shortage of resources for filling openings in the live industry, whether needs are front-of-house, backstage, in the production office or even the boardroom. And with DTS’ focus on identifying, educating and mentoring young people to enter the industry, her positive impact will be felt for decades to come. And taking on the project has benefited Scaggs as well.
“I think mine was finding out about my positive effects on young women who have aspired to enter the music industry as creators and on the business side. Discovering that I have inspired them to go for things they never thought they could do. I never knew I had that impact on anyone, but always hoped that if I accomplished anything in my life, it would be to encourage others to stand in their own truth, and go for what makes their hearts sing, over anything else in their life.”