Republic Records, a division of Universal Music Group, will stop the usage of the word “urban” to describe music effective immediately.
In an official announcement, Republic Records acknowledged that the term “urban,” which has been used to generalise Black people and music, will be removed from its verbiage and advised other labels to do the same. “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industry to follow suit as it is important to shape the future of what we want it to look like, and not adhere to the outdated structures of the past.”
The term has usually come to connote R&B and hip-hop, often lumping black music genres into one category competing for the same accolades, marginalizing black musicians and those who work with them in the process.
In a similar move, Los Angeles music management and A&R company Milk & Honey, whose clients have contributed to sales for the likes of Drake, Rick Ross, and Khalid, will also stop using “urban” as a descriptor. “We will no longer be using the term, as we believe it’s an important step forward, and an outdated word, which has no place in 2020 onwards.”
Earlier this year, Tyler, The Creator criticized his placement in the “urban” category after he won his first-ever Grammy for Best Rap Album with IGOR. Tyler commented in January: “It sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that’s genre-bending or that’s anything they always put it in a rap or urban category. I don’t like that ‘urban’ word — it’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me.”