Why I Support Abolishing The Term “Urban” Music
I think it is important to build and staff platforms that specifically address music creators from marginalized communities, which is why I want to ensure support for Black music creators, Latin music creators, LGBT music creators, and disabled music creators at The MLC.
Being intentional in recognizing and supplementing historically disadvantaged groups means to do the work to understand how these creators are often under/mis-represented, left behind, overshadowed, and disconnected (especially when it comes to the music business education and career resources gap that ultimately contributes to marginalized music creators being disproportionately overrepresented in unclaimed royalties pools).
Some firms have begun to announce Black music divisions. I am here for that.
Let’s not forget that since 1909, when music first earned federal copyright protection, the default for everything in society was White. We do not need to callout a “White music division” when the way in which all industries operate is to center whiteness. The de facto MO when we hear “mainstream” is that the audience is the White masses.
These types of platforms give firms a dedicated channel through which partnerships can be forged in marginalized communities where we can reach marginalized creators to effectively communicate opportunities to advance their careers. It also creates a two-way pipeline for receiving input that can be applied to improve the firm’s communications and operations to better serve these communities with nuance.
I fully support Black music divisions at music companies; and yes this term is important and intentional, just like Black Music Month, which is this month of June.
The term “urban music” no longer reflects the demographic of the creators who create within the genres that are typically encompassed in the term “urban” (R&B and Hip Hop). Music creators of all racial and ethnic makeup create “urban music”. The intent of the term was to specifically focus on Black artists. But there are Black artists who create pop, country, rock, and EDM. These artists are underrepresented within those genres and are often dismissed to “shouldn’t you be making urban music?”
The urban music category was intended to represent music made by Black artists from the inner-city. It was to create a platform and ensure resources were allocated to Black artists, but that isn’t accomplished when #1 everybody makes Hip Hop (eg G Eazy, Macklemore) and R&B (eg JoJo, Justin Beiber), #2 Black artists are not being prioritized in non-urban genres (e.g. edm, country, rock, pop), and #3 Black artists aren’t limited to the inner-city.
If the goal is to empower Black artists, we need to do so across all genres. Abolishing the genre-limited term “urban music,” which represents only two genres begins to open the platform to Black artists who create any genre of music.
And yes, it is important to specifically call out Black artists as their careers matter. It is the same reason why we have Black Lives Matter. The “I don’t see color” BS disregards the decades of institutionalized racism that suppressed Black artists and set a tone for them getting shitty record deals and smaller marketing budgets.
Black music platforms are not about genres, it’s about music created by Black artists regardless of genre. It’s about ensuring that resources and budgets are allocated equitably to Black artists.
Abolish “urban music” and stand up “Black music” divisions. Fund Black artists across all genres!
Urban Music = Hip Hop and R&B
Black Music = Music created by Black artists regardless of genre. The focus is on the creator and not the genre.
Dae’s Short Essays on Racial Injustice
I’d like to share with my readers a few short essays, statements and visuals that I’ve published to social media over the weekend surrounding the George Floyd protests, the riots and racial injustices in general (www.twitter.com/daeboganmusic).
You’ll find them below.
I’ve also been out in peaceful protests and have seen first hand how unaffiliated bad actors, including those who may be members of white supremacy groups, incited vandalism and looting. Unfortunately, the media focused 75% of its coverage on the bad and 25% on the peaceful protests. Here is a collection of photos and videos of those bad actors at work.
Selection of short essays and statements:
Burn it all Down: Riots as the Uncontrollable Reaction to the Dismissal Of Peace
For those who ask “how is a riot supposed to help?”
Answer: It’s not meant to.
Let me make this very clear: Riots are not meant to help. Riots are meant to destroy. Riots are the imminent reaction to destruction caused by institutions of power when peace isn’t enough to prevent the abuse and oppression endured under those institutions of power. Stop asking how a riot is supposed to help and start asking how do we avoid the violence onto citizens so that a violent reaction isn’t incited.
Asking how a riot is supposed to help is asking for reason — you’re trying to make sense of something that is not meant to make sense. A riot is a reaction. It is uncontrollable. It is damaging. It is violent. It is the release of pinned up anger and frustration. It’s point is to release a force, not to effect change.
Peaceful protests are supposed to effect change. But they haven’t, so here is the chaotic outcome for which the only purpose it has is to destroy. Yes, there is collateral damage. And yes livelihoods will be affected. It’s a ball of energy that affects everything when it explodes.
The goal should be to prevent that explosion; not to try and make sense of its aftermath.
When peaceful protests do not effect change; when peaceful protests are not answered with justice for victims riots are the consequence.
The peaceful protests in response to the police murder of Michael Brown did not stop the police murder of Tamir Rice. The peaceful protests for Tamir Rice did not prevent the police murder of Freddie Gray. The peaceful protests for Freddie Gray did not stop the police murder of Philando Castile. The peaceful protests for Philando Castile did not prevent the police murder of Eric Garner…and so on.
The Purpose of Rage
“It’s all just senseless violence.” 😫
Senseless violence is senseless violence but rage is not senseless violence.
Rage is something different.
Rage is manifested. Rage is the forced suppression of anger that bubbles up over time only to explode into uncontrollable chaos.
Rage has purpose and that purpose is to destroy and violence is its weapon.
You don’t get to sit idly by for a decade and watch unarmed Black men be beaten and murdered by institutions of power, do absolutely nothing substantial about it, then ask that the reaction to that trauma is controlled and directed.
Catalysts of change are often never convenient for neither the constituents of change nor its opposition. Every revolution to which you benefit today was born at the cost of property and lives — but they all began with thoughtful asks and peace that were ignored and dismissed.
I specifically wrote the following statement to address my White Gay friends who’ve remained silent on racial injustice or dismissed the protests as they would “interfere” with their LGBT Pride Month (begins today, June 1st) festivities:
To the White Gays whining about protests disrupting your forthcoming Pride parties: Here’s a reality check.
“Pride” isn’t a month.
Pride represents the set of human rights that LGBT men and women, sparked by Black and Brown queer and trans folks, fought for — including rioting — so that one day you could openly live your life and dance around shirtless at pool parties without being stripped of your right to a peaceful existence. They fought and burned shit down so that one day you would no longer be unfairly harrassed and discriminated against by law enforcement and other institutions of government. Imagine going back 51 years and yelling at the people who were fighting for your rights to be treated as a human beings to “just be peaceful and don’t break anything.”
You don’t get to celebrate Pride by denouncing the type of actions that those men and women took to upend the oppression that would otherwise constrict your existence.
If you don’t understand why Black and Brown queer and trans people are today protesting injustices, you don’t deserve a Pride party.
The following are a few quick social media posts:
When the peace we offered wasn’t enough.
When they say “you lost my support when you started looting Target.”
Racial injustice and the policing of Black bodies did not begin last week.
And on a lighter note, has anyone called Kendall Jenner yet? 😂
Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/daeboganmusic