At a time when some major companies and brands have remained silent about their stance on Black injustices and against racism, Rated R&B, a Black-owned media outlet, has tirelessly recognized the many Black voices in the genre of R&B and its evolved subgenres for nearly a decade.
DAWN, a music visionary who has teetered back and forth between multiple genres, expressed to Rated R&B the need to show complete support to Black-owned brands, particularly publications, in an unpublished conversation from March 2019.
The shift to this discussion had developed after a question was posed regarding why Black artists vie for white publication validation through music premieres and exclusive content, and overlook partnering with Black publications that truly support them.
DAWN offered a response for disproportion in support while detailing her perspective as Black woman and artist seeking placements from her minority media outlets and publications.
“Besides you guys and maybe like two other really incredible indie-Black funded publications, most Black media outlets don’t support me,” DAWN told Rated R&B over the phone. “I love fashion. I’ve been a part of fashion for a very long time. Vogue has been the only Black fashion publication that’s given me an opportunity. I would have loved to do that Mardi Garis culture piece with any other Black publications like Essence and Ebony, but they don’t support me. They don’t write about me like that. I’m just being truthful. I’ve known BET a long time. They’ve never supported my music – ever.”
She continued, “Most of the spaces that allow me to do that have been predominantly white. I’m not the only artist. It’s just now happening where beautiful, different Black women in electronic, hip-hop or whatever are getting love from other places that are predominately Black and pushing forward. For the most part, if it’s isn’t mainstream, most media outlets haven’t touched some of my favorite artists. People that I’m really proud of that I wish would get love. They’re not getting that from those places. They get it from underground media places like i-D, Office Magazine and Paper where they’re Black people a part of the programs. I wish it wasn’t that. I would love to rep all Black blogs and Black magazines. I love doing it for us, by us as much as I possibly can.”
DAWN hoped her love letter to New Orleans, New Breed, would be an answer to the industry that emerging Black artists, particularly Black women, shouldn’t limit their music creativity to one genre for equal attention.
“I think it’s interesting that a lot of Black females who are underground or even those who are choosing to be pop culture are represented by white people,” she said. “The newer Black artists that are not trying to be pop and they’re trying to go into electronic, underground and really different things, a lot of them are being represented in some shape or form by somebody white because they see them. I hope more Black execs, more Black labels open their gambit and open their diversity and say, ‘Okay, we’re not just going to have R&B and hip-hop girls. We’re also going to have some electronic, rock, [and] heavy metal girls that are Black’ and really take some on some other artists beyond the same idea because there are really great artists out there that still see themselves pro-Black and want to the culture to go forward, but they’re not really being supported in those places to even more forward the way they would like to.”
If anyone of those artists DAWN hints are bold trailblazers as she is, then they must be heard and recognized for their authentic and fearless contributions to music. It’s the duty of Black-owned music publications to positively support those artists who are young, gifted and Black.
Revisit part-one of Rated R&B’s candid conversation with DAWN where she broke down her acclaimed New Breed album, grounding Black women in music that inspired her and much more.