The Recording Academy is taking some serious action following global protests for equality and an end to racism. The organization has decided to drop the term ‘urban’ from one of its key music categories.
Grammys x 2021
According to reports, the Recording Academy has announced a slew of new changes including its approach to dealing with the controversial term. With the Grammys going down next year, the Recording Academy’s R&B category is dropping the ‘urban’ title in it.
Additionally, certain R&B, rap and Latin categories have been given makeovers in order to better reflect the current musical landscape. And they’ve canned the term “Urban” in R&B. Best Urban Contemporary Album has been renamed Best Progressive R&B Album, while Best Rap/Sung Performance has been renamed Best Melodic Rap Performance and expanded to include “dialects, lyrics or performance elements from non-rap genres.” (HITS Daily Double)
Heading into last weekend, Republic Records broke massive news about using the term ‘urban’ within its organization. The label vowed to make a much-needed change to its terminology after years of having hip-hop music categorized as ‘urban’ entertainment.
“Effective immediately, Republic Records will remove ‘URBAN’ from our verbiage in describing departments, employee titles and music genres. We encourage the rest of the music industry to follow suit as it is important to shape the future of what we want it to look like, and not adhere to the outdated structures of the past.” -Republic Records’ Twitter
Wait, There’s More
Over the years, the urban category has typically grouped black music into one oversimplified and low-key controversial category.
The label that’s home to Ariana Grande and The Weeknd said of axing the term used for hip-hop and R&B acts, “ ‘Urban’ is rooted in the historical evolution of terms that sought to define Black music,” but “over time the meaning and connotations of ‘urban’ have shifted and it developed into a generalization of Black people in many sectors of the music industry, including employees and music by Black artists.” The term was coined by DJ Frankie Crocker in the ’70s. (Page Six)
Before You Go
Sony Music Group is also making big changes. Last week, the iconic label announced a multi-million dollar fund aimed at ending racism and helping support social injustice causes.