In the wake of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, the music industry was one of several industries that were criticized for its lack of inclusivity and diversity. Major names like Sony, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music pledged to donate millions of dollars to fight social injustice. It took years and years for the industry to just acknowledge the racial imbalance taking place in the field, but much more is needed than just acknowledgement.

This article will explore the different ways that the music industry has been pushing its racist agenda.

  • Music Theory:

The mainstream media keeps feeding people that the 18th century European musicians revolutionized music theory. This excludes and alters the narrative of how colored people reshaped the 20th century music industry. 

  • Exploiting Black Artists:

The exploitation of black artists has been an ongoing issue and Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, and Nicki Minaj are among many artists who are still subject to racism from labels and managers. It is important to understand that when we say racism we don’t necessarily mean racist slurs. Racism takes different shapes and forms, as it could be through contracts, nominations, collaborations, music royalties, and so forth.

  • Country Music and Racism:

Many think that country music is limited to Southern white fans but is that really the case? Kelly Clarkson has recently interviewed the black country fan, Rachel, to discuss her experience of attending a country music show. Although she wasn’t directly harmed, Rachel stated how the attendees made her feel uncomfortable and unwelcomed (you can watch the interview here). This shows how gatekeepers avoid any form of integration and inclusivity. 

  • Awards Show Committee:

Before 1989, rap songs were not even eligible to get nominated in the famous award shows. You might argue that the academy has now changed as we see many black artists win awards. But did you know that Album Of The Year Awards usually go to white people? Yes, around 80% of the time goes for white artists.

The above-mentioned points are just some evident facts, but the truth is that there are much more than what is mentioned. 

This highlights the fact that navigating the music industry is not an easy thing, and it’s way harder if you’re a person of color. Thus, acknowledging the existing racism alone is not enough, fighting white privilege should be a priority as well. 

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