That's the question posed by Latoya Peterson of race and pop culture blog Racialicious on TheRoot.com. I'm honored that she thought to get my opinion on the subject. Here's where she quoted me:
But is radio the only path to success for musicians like Monae?
Former music industry PR professional Rob Fields says no. Currently a
''black rock evangelist,'' he founded the site BoldAsLove.us,
a blog which explores ''the new black imagination.'' Fields, still a
promoter at heart, believes that Monae's production team already has
changed the game for outsider artists by pulling together a multifaceted
presence. He agrees with House that ''the fans of Monae are not
listening to commercial radio,'' but attributes the shift to the same
formula that House embraces–music designed for hits may rule the
airwaves, but those in search of a different sound have packed up and
Instead, Fields says, more and more people are looking outside of
radio for musical alternatives that are ''spiritually fulfilling.'' As
he sees it, Monae's groundswell of support from both hip-hop underground
and indie rock circles, heralds the ends of the end of the radio era.
''You know how water bends light? The culture medium bends all kind of
things,'' Fields says. ''Janelle can have success outside of black
radio. By the time black radio catches up, she'll already be a
In short, Monae's strong numbers–from ticket and record sales–will
eventually be the only gatepass she needs to break into the mainstream.
''It's about making it matter in the marketplace,'' Fields says.
''Janelle Monae has been able to show that her music matters.''
You can read the full article here.