Last week, K. Michelle admitted that navigating the music industry as a woman of color is even trickier than people may think.
During a sit-down interview with HuffPost Live, the popular VH1 reality star says she faced a myriad of roadblocks attempting to get her brand of soulful R&B music played on top 40 radio stations, while white artists in the same genre continued to be applauded and get airplay with much less pushback.
“There’s certain formats and radio stations and certain things we can’t sing as African American women,” she explained. “For instance, if I’m to do a ballad, it’s going to go to Urban [Adult Contemporary] — a very small audience. But if other artists, of other ethnicities are to do a ballad, it’ll be played on Top 40 and it’ll be played on Rhythmic.”
“The blue-eyed soul era is here,” the Memphis native continued. “I don’t care what color you are, but that is not the industry that I’m working in. I can sing the same song as a white artist and they’re going to ship me off to never be heard … but they’re not going to do that to white artists.”
Earlier this year, K. Michelle used the fanfare artists like Adele receive as an example of the glaring double standard. She even claims record execs were “very honest” with her about the inequity placed on black women wanting to sing soul music.
“They were like, ‘If this record was from a white girl, it would be number one,'” she said she was told in response to her bluesier tracks.
“They know that the people who [run] these stations are going to give them a hard time about playing it. They are in the fight with me to get this music out there. …It’s very discouraging. It doesn’t matter how great of a song it is.”
Check out the full interview above.