But some are now saying that African-Americans are no longer needed as music executives, because of the similarities of Black and white artists these days.
While former music executives Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Sylvia Rhone have been instrumental in ushering-in a slew of African-American artists into mainstream media, many labels believe that they don’t necessarily need African-American executives to sell hip-hop or pop records.
“Now that Rihanna and Katy Perry are so similar, why do you need a black executive?” said hip-hop pioneer Russel Simmons.
Some argue that African-Americans still play a crucial role:
“You still need soul,” says one of the rare black women in mid-management.
Adds a black lawyer: “As creative people, African-Americans have led the charge in determining what is hot in pop culture. Let’s not forget the big picture. We’ve been the tastemakers on the cutting edge and telling the world what’s hot.”