This year, for Black History Month, we're taking a look at a group of leaders who are currently active making Black history across the labor movement. Check back daily for a new profile and meet some of the people working to improve not only their community, but also to improve conditions for working people across the country. Today's profile is Stephanie Matthews of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM).
Musician and consultant Stephanie Matthews of AFM Local 47 in Los Angeles has a message: “We are here.” That message is directed at anyone doubting the level of Black string talent in today’s music industry. And she should know. Matthews has put together string sections for some of the biggest stars. In 2020, she assembled an all-Black, all-female orchestra for Lizzo’s opening performance at the Grammy Awards. At the 2022 Academy Awards, she brought together the ensemble for Beyoncé’s opening performance of “Be Alive,” from "King Richard," which she says was an incredible experience. Also this year, Matthews gathered orchestra musicians for composer and pianist Robert Glasper’s salute to Duke Ellington at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.