What a tangled web the chart system weaves.
For, in what some might put down to ignorance, chart systems the world over still seem to be under the impression that ‘black’ acts fall under the umbrella of ‘urban’ by default….even when those acts aren’t supported by urban radio.
Now, by way of this controversial system, Def Jam singer Rihanna has spent her 11th week atop Billboard’s R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart with her Pop number, ‘Diamonds’.
Full story below…
@rihanna‘s Diamonds stays at #1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for an 11th week and leads Radio Songs for a 3rd week (139 million).
— Chart News (@chartnews) December 19, 2012
Despite technically being a Pop cut and receiving little support from R&B radio outlets upon release, ‘Diamonds’ now spends its 11th week atop the nation’s US R&B tally, by way of- as uncomfortable as this is to say- her race.
A fact that oft plays to the advantage of performers who lend to both generes, the inaccurate addition of songs like ‘Diamonds’ on urban charts has ensured that genuine R&B numbers are refused entry to #1, as they aren’t afforded the Top 40 airplay Rihanna‘s star power gives her no choice but to enjoy.
This, sees R&B acts forced to compete with songs that are A. not of the same genre and B. given endless promotional platforms- especially if these songs tick today’s EDM box.
On the matter, ‘Disparate Youth‘ singer Santigold said the following when her 2008 single ‘Lights Out’ was made available on iTunes’ ‘Hip Hop/R&B’ chart:
“It’s racist. It’s totally racist. Everyone is just so shocked that I don’t like R&B. Why does R&B keep coming into my interviews? It’s pissing me off. I didn’t grow up as a big fan of R&B and, like, what is the big shocker? It’s stupid.”
Here’s hoping coming years will see the industry categorize songs according to their genre, and not by the skin tone of the act behind them.