08 June 2020

Drake and Ariana Grande’s record company drops use of ‘urban’ to describe music

The recording label for Drake and Ariana Grande will stop using the word ’urban’ to describe music which originates from black or ethnic minority culture.

Republic Records is one of the biggest record companies in the United States and also have deals with artists such as The Weeknd and Taylor Swift.

Grande has sold over five million records worldwide (SIPA USA/PA Images)

And the decision to ban the word is one they hope will encourage other music labels to do the same.

Explaining their decision, Republic Records said: "'Urban' is rooted in the historical evolution of terms that sought to define black music.

"As with a lot of our history, the original connotation of the term urban was not deemed negative. However, over time the meaning and connotations of 'urban' have shifted and it developed into a generalisation 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.

"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consider following suit as it is important to shape the future of what we want it to look like, as to not adhere to the outdated structures of the past."

And the move appears to have worked as management company Milk & Honey also outlawed the word from their music business dealings.

They said: "We will no longer be using the term as we believe it's an important step forward, and an outdated word, which has no place in 2020 onwards."

Although not claimed to be in response to the Black Lives Matter protests, the decision comes just two weeks after the death of American George Floyd led to widespread condemnation, protesting and some rioting.

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