Lizzo calls genre labelling ‘inherently racist’

Lizzo moves to de-label music genres in a bid to shine a light on and move forward from its racist beginnings. 

Producer Jerry Wexler famously coined the name “rhythm and blues” as a marketing tactic in the 1940s, to label the black music created in America, which culminated from blues, big-band swing, and gospel.

This is what Lizzo is poking the stick at when she refers to labeling as being deeply rooted in racism. 

Lizzo racism
Credit: Wired

In a recent chat with Entertainment Weekly, Lizzo shared her sentiments on genre labeling, citing that the intent behind the original marketing label known as R&B and Hip-hop, was in place to keep black artists out of the mainstream charts.

“Genre’s racist inherently, I think if people did any research they would see that there was race music and then there was pop music. And race music was their way of segregating Black artists from being mainstream because they didn’t want their kids listening to music created by Black and brown people because they said it was demonic and yada, yada, yada.”

“I think when you think about pop, you think about MTV in the ’80s talking about ‘We can’t play rap music,’ or ‘We can’t put this person on our platform because we’re thinking about what people in the middle of America think’ – and we all know what that’s code for.”

Lizzo went on to describe the music industry as a “well-oiled” machine with “racist origins,” but wrapped up by saying that “Rap is running the game.” 

One thing is certain, good music is just good music, and de-labeling could bring about a refreshing change when it comes to who is topping the overall charts. Which leads us to ponder, who would be leading the way then? And what would Music Awards look like? Lizzo’s poignant statement seems to have done what it intended, and that is to make you question it all and then some.