Major labels, led by Republic Records, are moving to ditch the label “urban.” It’s part of a process of sidelining black music that’s been going on for 80 years.
According to one Republic source who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the majority of the staff supported the change, but some black employees were still worried. “Their fear is, does [getting rid of the term] take away our spot?” the source says. For decades, “urban” departments have been the labels’ only safe haven for black executives. If “urban” disappears, what protections remain?