US Record Label Drops the Term “Urban”

One of the most powerful record labels in the US, will stop using the word “urban” to describe music of Black origin.

Ariana Grande

Republic Records represents artists like Drake, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd.

Here’s part of what the record company sent out in a memo:

“ Nearly 50 years ago Frankie Crocker coined the term ‘urban’ to define the sound of his radio station in an attempt to better represent his audience.”


Frankie “Hollywood” Crocker was a Black American disc jockey who helped grow WBLS, the Black music radio station in New York.

The memo goes on to say, “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. While this change will not and does not affect any of our staff structurally, it will remove the use of this antiquated term.”

Music Industry Encouraged to Follow Suit

“We encourage the rest of the music industry to consider following suit as it is important to shape the future of what we want it to look like,” it concludes, “as to not adhere to the outdated structures of the past.”



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