Skip to main content

We're sorry won't work in this browser

Try the Edge browser
True Music

Meet our True Music Fund Mentors

stay true south africa

Driven by our core ethos, centred around diversity and inclusion, the Ballantine’s True Music Fund returns for 2023. This year, the ten recipients include multiple African enterprises spearheading progressive and inclusive businesses that are helping to provide a solid foundation for their local communities. To help in that process, we’ve given three judges the opportunity to mentor the recipients and offer their expertise to help them drive their impactful cultural narratives forward.


What makes you excited to be a mentor?
I’m looking forward to learning from the mentees & understanding their passions, ambitions & drive, to be inspired & looking at ways to support.


From interning straight out of university to building a business going into my 30’s, the journey has not been easy but it’s been worth it. A continuous wave of growth from growing and building communities to thousands of people, sitting on the board for the world’s biggest brands, forbes 30 under 30 and now soon to be mum. I know the importance of mentorship and am happy to be able to pass on what I’ve learnt along the way with True Music Fund.

Get in contact with Shannie on Linkedin and Instagram

shannie picture

Khaleel Johnson
(he/they) Cultural producer & experiential strategist

What excites you about being a mentor?

I hope to use my knowledge to help the mentees navigate current different roles within the industry, see the value in lived experiences & understand the importance of communities within the modern workplace.


Community and identity have been the common denominators throughout my work, from Trojan Records (BMG) to London Fashion Week and HE.SHE.THEY to Soho House. Currently working in high-end international travel, my desire for diverse representation within luxury spaces has augmented by working closely with grassroots talent while understanding the important role migration, mobility and globalisation plays within the broader creative landscape. I’m excited to utilise my gained knowledge to help my mentees explore non-traditional roles that are available in the music, art and cultural industry.

Get in contact with Khaleel on Linkedin and Instagram.

Stephen Mai
CEO and Founder of Woo (by ITV)


What excites you about being a mentor?
I’m looking forward to meeting people from diverse backgrounds & leveraging my experience driving culture through strategy & content to help the next generation of creatives & artists.

I’ve spent my career merging marketing and content to drive impactful cultural narratives underwritten by storytelling, activism and consumer products. I’ve done this for brands such as I-D, VICE LADbible, Boiler Room and MTV. I’m currently building woo, a new gen media brand and marketplace, I’m looking forward to leveraging my experience to help guide my mentees through the world of marketing, creative, sales and business.

Get in contact with Stephen on Linkedin and Instagram

220322 scala woo portraits 04 256

Want to discover more about our True Music Fund? Click through below to learn more, and meet the 2023 recipients.

screenshot 2023 06 22 at 14.11.14

Meet The Ballantine’s True Music Fund 2023 Recipients

Driven by our core ethos, centred around diversity and inclusion, the Ballantine’s True Music Fund returns for 2023. Ballantine’s will be following their journey to understand how this funding will impact their work.

Meet the 2023 team
Santuri East Africa Ballantine's True Music Fund 2023
True Music

True Music Fund

It’s time to take action. That’s why we have launched the True Music Fund. A £100,000 fund to support grassroots organisations actively working to achieve diversity and inclusion in music culture.

Discover more about the fund


I would like to hear more about:

*Your information may be used by Chivas Brothers International Limited and made available through us to other members of the Pernod Ricard Group. You can unsubscribe at any time. You can also exercise your right of access, rectification, deletion or objection. The Privacy Policy explains how.