Recently freelance writer Sebastien Elkouby penned an extremely prolific and well timed satirical piece entitled: “Notice to Black Artist, Your Services are No Longer Needed.” The letter, originally posted in RapRehab.com spoke volumes about the state of the industry and the changing climate that appears to no longer need black artists’ and or black influence. Elkouby states: “Cultural appropriation is nothing new. However, in the past few years, I had been noticing this new wave of cultural misappropriation slowly chipping away at Rap and R&B…” The letter has started a firestorm since its original post in RapRehab.com by industry people on both sides of the fence, mostly agreeing with the satire. Paul Porter, owner of Rap Rehab goes on to state: “I think this decline in Black music has to be addressed by programmers and labels. Someone has to take the lead before R&B is only on the History Channel.”
The letter started: Dear black artists, We regret to inform you that the need for your services will soon come to an end as we enter a critical restructuring period. Fortunately, after having spent nearly a century meticulously studying your art, language, fashion, and lifestyle, we have learned enough to confidently move forward without your assistance. We thank you for your contributions but have decided to make some necessary changes as a result of your decreasing value….
While the letter certainly covered the jist of the industry’s problem there is still even MORE to add to the story . Let us start by saying…In the late 60s and early 70s white record promoters pushed black music to black radio stations until the black stations threatened to boycott and demanded the labels create black music divisions which they did. Where are we today? (click “NEXT” above or below to see what else is going on in the industry)
Radio jocks have had to wonder if our services were no longer needed with the creation of Rhythmic Radio which was primarily urban radio without the “Black” part. No black jocks, no black news, just black interns and black music. This segment of the radio industry was able to tap into the often underserved hardcore hip hop fan who was not hearing hip hop on urban radio. This is primarily what made Rhythmic radio shine but today the format is abandoning hip hop for more upbeat EDM type music. Many rappers thought urban radio refused to play rap because of the elitist black owners who somehow forgot where they came from (especially in the late 80s and early 90s) and while that did play a part the greater deterrent was major advertisers who refused to advertise on black radio stations if they played hip hop but the rules were not the same for Rhythmic stations because they were not considered “Black” stations. Click Next below
The industry was once dominated by black DJs who created their own industry after being rejected by the urban radio industry. They got deals with record labels and established their own relationships with hip hop and R&B artists, now the industry is dominated by white DJs who are celebrities making millions touring the world and using the assistance of tech devices that were not available to black DJs when they started the industry. Are black DJs services no longer needed as the industry moves deeper into the EDM arena? Click Next below
Are the services of black industry people still needed? The radio corporations have found ways to get around FCC rules and regulations by offering record labels little choice but to work DIRECTLY with them… how long before the middleman is completely squeezed out of the equation? Look at iHeart Radio, iHeartmedia (formerly Clear Channel)’s service where much of the work is done directly with the label and the artists. If the industry no longer needs black artists, then is this another area where we are losing ground? Click Next below
Black Radio Programmers:
Black radio programmers have been stripped of their ability to be creative in programming their radio stations. They now have to get approval for the music they play which is often heavily researched and heavily influenced by PPM, a system of rating radio stations that takes sample listening habits from massive populations of listeners. As black music and culture has always CREATED the trends it is now forced to follow them which is the reason black music, artists, radio, programmers and DJs are getting ignored and left behind. Click Next below