Since her hit series “Insecure,” Issa Rae has tapped into other avenues, including the hair care beauty with her line Sienna Naturals. However, when it came to the music industry — where the 36-year-old has already established a camp with her record label Raedio — the producer had much to say about the $23.1 billion industry.
During an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the L.A. native shared details behind her song selection process for the finale season of the Emmy-winning comedy-drama. When asked if the music world was the best environment for good ideas to flourish, the creative said: “absolutely not.”
Rae believes “It’s probably the worst industry that I have ever come across.” The actress noted that previous notions about the Hollywood world didn’t even compare. “I thought Hollywood was crazy,” the “Little” star continued.
Rae, who’s producing a new show about aspiring rapers, said the business is in serious need of cleansing, “The music industry, it needs to start over,” she added. “Conflicts of interest abound. Archaic mentalities. Crooks and criminals! It’s an abusive industry, and I really feel for artists that have to come up in it.”
The multi-talented star said her harsh criticisms stem from the conversations she’d held with artists. “I do not want to be too specific, but even with making our own appointments [for soundtracks] with labels or artists, it would be so intricate,” she explained.
“And to find out how artists were treated on other labels. When I myself am a creator and know what I want in relation to a relationship with a production company or a producer, I would like to think that we are more artist-friendly than much of other brands and companies out there,” she added. “I want to renew things.”
Other practices in the industry also came fire from the HOORAE founder. Elsewhere, Rae blasted what she sees as the Grammys’ continued shortcomings, especially regarding who gets acknowledged.
“What really bums me out — and this aligns with Hollywood — is the way that music is rewarded. When I think about the Grammys and these other systems that are designed to reward artistic creativity and uplift artists, I just feel like, ‘Y’all don’t get it. What are you rewarding?” the record label owner explained.
Rae went on to call out Wizkid’s summer smash “Essence,” which features fellow Nigerian artist Tems. The song was nominated for best global music performance but not record of the year despite its undeniable popularity. Rae sees a pattern there.
“Just absolutely a powerhouse, and yet could not be properly acknowledged by the institution that is supposed to celebrate the best in music — that trips me out,” Rae said. “To see Black people and our contributions to music not celebrated in the way they should be — I mean, these aren’t institutions for us.”
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