In February 2014, my piece “Notice to Black Artists: Your Services Are No Longer Needed” hit the entertainment industry by storm. Written as a no-holds barred satirical take on Rap and R&B’s white “takeover” as well as the film industry’s casting of white actors to play people of color, media outlets from Billboard Magazine to MSNBC picked up the story and helped to make it one of the year’s most controversial piece on cultural misappropriation.
Here we are, one year later, days before the 57th Grammy Awards, and everyone’s favorite “culture vulture”, Iggy Azalea, is nominated for Best Rap Album and Record of the Year. GQ Magazine’s latest issue dubbed Sam Smith the new face of Soul. And Dr. Dre just signed a young white rapper by the name of Justin Mohrle who sounds exactly like Drake. Justin Bieber and Robin Thicke may be out of the picture but the industry always finds replacements.
Not to worry, you say? No doubt, there’s room for everyone in the world of Hip Hop and R&B. But my music industry sources confirm that there’s a very real concerted effort to “whiten” the face of “Urban” music…and it’s only a matter of time before the truth is revealed.
Here’s the piece that had everyone up in arms. One year later, does it still hold up?
Sebastien Elkouby is a creative consultant, Hip Hop culture historian, writer, award-winning educator, and co-host of Take No Prisoners Radio. For more info, go to SebIsHipHop.com or contact him at [email protected] Find him on Twitter at SebIsHipHop.