Back in May, ‘Magnetic Fields‘ front man Stephen Merritt found himself under the media gaze after he made comments questioning the public’s support of ‘21‘ chart topper Adele.
In an interview with LA Weekly, he suggested that Caucasian artists performing what he called ‘black music’ were often more palatable to viewers than Black artists performing ‘black music’- hinting at an underlying but unintentional racist streak in Popular audiences.
His comments didn’t end there. In making the comparison between the radio airtime given to Black Rap acts and their fairer counterparts, he concluded:
There is something unsavory about the way audiences sometimes disproportionately favor white artists making black music.
Witness Eminem’s repeated appearances on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks (now Alternative Songs) chart with songs sporting an unmistakably hip-hop bounce like “My Name Is” and “Without Me.” The only way to explain his crossing-over to rock radio is his skin color.
Billed as an exaggeration of a dated issue, Merritt’s remarks came under fire from some That Grape Juice readers who argued their reasons for supporting artists came on the grounds of quality and not race.
However, these found themselves countering arguments supporting the performer’s theory.
Pointing out, that despite the prior success of Aaliyah, TLC, Brandy, Monica and Janet in the 90s, this generation only boasts three commercially viable Black female artists.
These being, Rihanna, Beyonce and rising Rapper Nicki Minaj.
So now we ask you:
Do you feel race plays into chart success?
Weigh in below…