The 2013 Hot 100 Charts were No Country For Black Artists but if it’s up to satirist Sebastien Elkouby, black music ain’t going out without a fight. Elkouby recently wrote a searing “open letter” drawing attention to the music industry’s failure promote diversity last year but he also makes some great points about what’s happening with film and TV as well. Check out an excerpt via Rap Rehab:
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. Focus groups show that consumers are looking for more relatable images. While 2013 marked the first time in Billboard’s 55 year history that there were no black artists on top of the Hot 100 chart, this was a great year for us with Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, and Macklemore claiming the #1 spot on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart, proving that market demands are shifting. Consequently, in the next few months, we will be gradually phasing out your positions as we finalize this reorganization. In the meantime, we ask you to continue with business as usual, training your replacements Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber until instructed otherwise.
Your severance package includes a lifetime supply of Air Jordans, unlimited access to reruns of “Love and Hip Hop”, a new 30 piece Tom Ford wardrobe, and the latest iPhone. Your medical coverage will be provided through ObamaCare.
We want you to know that your termination is in no way a statement about the quality of your work with us. As such, we would like to acknowledge your outstanding contributions to the industry over the past decades.
In music, we’d like to thank Kendrick Lamar’s thought-provoking body of work which has opened the door for Macklemore, a shining example of what intelligent rap looks like.
In business, Jay Z’s partnership with Samsung was historical as the Korean mobile company paid the rapper a mere $5 million and his company Roc Nation, another $15 million, a bargain deal relative to their standard annual $4 billion marketing budget and $220 billion net worth.
In fashion, while Kanye West may be experiencing difficulties launching his own brand, his loyalty to European designers continues to add value to an already thriving industry that other entertainers like Migos seem to enjoy promoting for free.
Do you think he has some valid points?
The letter goes on to point out similar failures in the film industry. You can read it in it’s entirety HERE.
The letter was also followed up with an in depth response by Billboard’s Gail Mitchell, which is strongly suggested reading as well.