Would Adele Sell Records If She Was Black? [Op-Ed]

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85th Annual Academy Awards – Show

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Jazmine Sullivan’s vocal abilities are A-1. Quite honestly, she can tango with any singer on any day, if necessary. She’s an immensely talented threat who can bust the windows from your car with a high note. It’s really that easy for her. What’s mind-boggling is the fact that despite her God-given talent, she isn’t being showered with a bevy of awards like her lighter-skinned counter parts. She isn’t soaring to the charts on Billboard. She isn’t being placed in a class of her own. The question is why?

During an interview with AP, Sullivan voiced her dismay. “I guess I’m glad that people are recognizing me in some way, and kind of see there’s a little injustice in how black soul artists are received,” she said. “But, at the same time, I try not to focus so much on the negativity.” Sullivan is nominated for three Grammy’s this year, including Best R&B album and Best R&B song. While she is elated for her nomination, there’s obviously a concern as to why and her contemporaries aren’t appreciated as much as Adele. Let’s not undervalue Adele; she’s a monster. Her record-shattering numbers are deserving. Her albums 21 and 25 are equipped with doses of talent and warmth that not every singer possess in their DNA.

But, let’s pose this question: If “Hello” was sung by a black singer, would the record have garnered this much success?

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Now, if you strip away race, the vocal abilities of Jazmine and Adele are comparable. If Jazmine was handed the “Hello” record, would she have similar success? It’s honestly hard to say. Considering Adele’s success was so big during 21, people were eagerly anticipating her comeback. So, people were salivating for a return from the songstress no matter what record she released. If Adele was a couple of shades darker, would she be limited to a couple of Grammy Nods, a la Jazmine or Kelly Price? Would she be dubbed as the girl who can sannngg, but not have any awards to validate it? With the RIAA alleviating the stress and headaches of going platinum, artists will be able to see their numbers shoot up, but prior to those rules would a dark-skinned Adele have this kind of success? She would be reduced to a Jazmine Sullivan, who’s voicing out her concerns.

Obviously, this isn’t anything new. White artists adopting soulful sounds and remixing it to their demographics liking has been a thing since we can remember. Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Macklemore all have capitalized from their race and remixed a style created by blacks to fit their audiences. It’s just a reality of the game.

I would pay to see a sing off between Jazmine Sullivan and Adele. This won’t solve anything, but it will certainly open the eyes of people sleeping on black talent, because Jazmine and Adele vocally, aren’t too far apart. Would you like to see a sing off between these two? SHARE us your thoughts!