For years, R&B entertainers of colour have cried out against a record label system which only champions the genre when fronted by white artists.
The result? Charts and awards ceremonies that do not truly celebrate the genre’s origins and diversity, and R&B artists of colour accused of “not having what it takes to make it” by music lovers blissfully unaware of the prejudice and politics that takes place in the boardroom that stops them from making it.
It’s a sad, sad situation and it’s getting more and more absurd.
Fortunately, ‘Can’t Raise a Man’ singer K. Michelle has decided to expose all of the above with the title of her third studio album.
Find out what it is below…
The star’s new project is named ‘I Ain’t White But I Hope You Like’, titled to blast the executives she says are stifling her creativity.
We’re sure Michelle’s bold statement can only add to a debate recently reignited by the rapper Azealia Banks.
Unfortunately, we’re also sure that it will see those who don’t agree it with push and peddle the ideas that “black audiences don’t purchase black music” and that “mainstream audiences are simply uninterested in artists of colour.”
Why this is unfortunate? Because they’re myths, endorsed by those who don’t understand that the recording industry’s financial woes have seen it become inclined to fund the artists it believes are the easiest to sell.
As we all know, these artists are rarely of colour so the ugly cycle begins.
The artist doesn’t sell because they aren’t supported by their label.
The label doesn’t support the artist because they aren’t selling.
The artist does’t sell because they aren’t supported by their label.
It gets worse.
For, while their commercially successfully rivals work closely with publishing companies to pull the best songs out of their best writers, today’s R&B artist (perhaps accepting “defeat”) makes life harder for themselves by working with writers and producers who save the best material for the Beyonce‘s & Rihanna‘s of the world.
Now, armed with the cuts nobody wanted, the R&B artist must now find a way to move units under a label that doesn’t care about them with songs that lack the pulling power their predecessors are confident enough to compete for.
We can only hope the coming year sees Hollywood’s push for diversity encourage labels to give their A&R departments the support they need to find the next batch of Mary’s, Tracy’s, Lenny’s & Toni’s.