Kelis Posts Scathing Critique of the Music Industry in Response to #BlackoutTuesday

Kelis also spoke on her issues with former producer Pharrell.

On Tuesday, Black music industry professionals joined #BlackOutTuesday. The event was a part of the #TheShowMustBePaused campaign, started by Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang. The creators meant to address exploitation of Black people in the music industry.

Grammy-nominated artist Kelis spoke up about how the industry should serve Black professionals. “If the music industry wants to support black lives,” she wrote, “labels and platforms can start with amending contracts, distributing royalties, diversifying boardrooms, and retroactively paying back all the Black artists, and their families, they have built their empires on.”


Days before, Raphael Saadiq joined the conversation as well, posting a scathing critique of the industry to Instagram.

“Streaming is the same as looting,” he wrote. “If the deals weren’t made directly with [artists], it’s looting, FACTS! Don’t take my words and turn them around, go study for yourself. One morning we woke up and music was basically free, we can’t stream NIKE, rent, medical or mortgages.”


Earlier this year, Kelis revealed that she essentially made no profit from her first two albums. She pointed to The Neptunes and their team as the culprits. In the comments of her post from Thursday, a follower mentioned the two’s fallout.

“Say it louder,” they wrote. “Cuz Pharrell in the back.”

“Thief like the big labels,” Kelis responded. “Worse in fact…Black [on] black crimes.”

Currently, Kelis is focusing on her culinary career. The Le Cordon Bleu graduate recently launched a cannabis cooking show on Netflix.

Torry Threadcraft

Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and culture. You can find his daily ramblings and culinary takes at @dreadcraft.

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Torry Threadcraft

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