TOMORROW: The Rise of Urban Alternative @ CMJ

What does "urban alternative" mean these days? We"ll be discussing at @cmj tomorrow>

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Sorry for the late notice, fam.  But if any of you are hanging at CMJ tomorrow, I’ll be on the above mentioned panel.  Not quite sure I’m moderating or what (yeah, crazy, I know).  Here’s the description:

The Rise of Urban Alternative
Thursday October 17th, 12:30 PM– 1:30 PM

NYU Kimmel Ctr. Room 406, 60 Washington Square South New York, NY 10012

The breakout success of artists like Frank Ocean, Weeknd, Miguel, and Elle Varner are proof positive that there is room for an expansion of the contemporary R&B, Rap, and Gospel categories most African American artists have traditionally been shoehorned into. We’ll discuss what the success of these artists signifies, and how they’re redefining the urban music landscape.

Interesting that we’re having this discussion almost two years after the Grammy nixed the Urban Alternative category.

From what I can tell, I’ll be joined by author and journalist Dalton Higgins; Okayplayer’s Editor-In-Chief Edwin Houghton aka Eddie Stats; producer Salaam Remi; and Afropunk’s Khalid Livingston.

Off the top, I hope we get into questions such as:

  • What does Urban Alternative mean these days anyway?
  • Shouldn’t we be careful about only aiming to expand “contemporary R&B, rap, and gospel.”?  Why no mention of rock and electronic?
  • What’s it say about audience tastes and where they’re heading?
  • What’s driving this evolution?

I’ll be basing a lot of my remarks and POV on my set of slides, The Rise of A Black Alternative.

Looking forward to a great discussion.  Again, if anyone’s around, definitely say hi.
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Rob Fields is the founder and publisher of Bold As Love Magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @robfields.

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