It's Time Music Removes the Word “Urban” From Its Labels

Photo Courtesy: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

On Wednesday, June 10, the Grammys dropped the term "urban" from what was formerly known as the Best Urban Contemporary Album category, and this relatively new award was rebranded as Best Progressive R&B Album. Republic Records, the label that represents Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd and Drake, is among several other record companies that announced they too will no longer use the term in describing everything from music genres to employee titles.

More and more artists and executives have started calling for the removal of "urban" as a label in the music industry, including the winner of the 2020 Grammy for Best Rap album — Tyler, the Creator — who described the term as a "politically correct way to say the N-word." Although it once had its place in the radio industry — all the way back in the 1970s — "urban" today bears racial undertones that alienate the Black artists it supposedly represents. It’s time the music industry does away with this term completely, because, in the words of Republic Records, "urban" has "developed into a generalization of Black people" that does nothing but reinforce stereotypes.

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