Monday, July 14, 2014

Ed Sheeran & BBC/1XTRA - is it time to drop the "Urban" label for music?

1XTRA, a BBC radio station that describes itself as the new black music network, recently named its top 20 most important artists in the UK over the last 12 months. The big "surprise" of course is that there are several non-black artists throughout the list including a very talented Ed Sheeran holding down the #1 spot. This of course has many in the black music community up in arms with many black artists were left off the list in favor of Sheeran and several others including Jessie J, Disclosure, DJ Fresh and Rita Ora.

Personally I think the real problem is that we still find it necessary to give color labels to music at all. In the USA, do we call basketball and football urban sports just because they appear to be dominated by black players? And if we did what would we label hockey and baseball, the later which of course has many black players.

My point is why do we let music still be defined by labels such as urban that suggest skin color? There are so many other words that can be used to describe music, many themselves that often lend themselves to one color or another (country, rap, R&B). But thes "music style" labels can appropriately be tagged to music that is that style. Labels like Urban no longer make sense to be used in my opinion, no more than we should call it "black music" or "white music". Music is music people and yes there are many styles and all of those styles are played by people of all different colors. If we really want to end prejudice in our world someday, we're going to have to stop calling music black or white and simply call it by the style it is.

If you'd like to take a peek at the 1Xtra list yourself here ya go: 1XTRA Power List - Most important UK Artists

This next article by The Guardiangives its own take on the list and how it believes having Ed Sheeran top the list is not the lists biggest problem. In there opinion the list shouldn't be limited to artists because there are too many in the music business world that would be perceived by many as "more important" or "more influential" than the artists. I see where they are coming from, but hey its supposed to be a list about artists - Consumers don't generally care about the people behind the scenes, no matter how important or influential they may be. We want to talk about the artists themselves and that's what the list is about.

While we're on the topic of Ed Sheeran, here is the video for his latest song "Sing". As a lover of pop music its a really good song but not something that makes me want to jump up and down (and definitely not something I can sing along too). He did take "Sing" all the way to #13 on the Billboard chart and to #1 in the UK and Australia AND Sheeran demonstrates some crazy awesome vocal skills on the track.

That's all she wrote for today - will be back tomorrow with another view on our favorite topic: MUSIC!

Music, Love & Laughter,

Vincent James @

p.s. KEEP MUSIC ALIVE Day #14 - Please visit our first post from Tuesday July 1st for more information about our mission

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