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Tyrese Gibson: Black musicians get unfair airtime

Published 23/07/2015

Tyrese Gibson
Tyrese Gibson

Tyrese Gibson says it's "not fair or right" that his music is only played on "black radio".

The singer-and-actor's sixth solo album Black Rose has topped the Billboard 200 chart, marking the first time he's achieved the honour. The star still isn't very happy though, insisting that he hasn't received as much playback on commercial radio stations as other R&B artists, something he puts down to his race.

"I'm not a racist, I'm not using the race card and I'm not trying to create any type of negative energy toward [US radio hosts] Ryan Seacrest or Elvis Duran specifically," he told USA Today.

"I'm simply asking the question: If Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke and Sam Smith are singing R&B/soul music, how is it possible that they're being played by Top 40, rhythmic and urban AC stations? Yet when we sing R&B/soul, it's only being played on black radio? It's not fair, it's not right and I'm not having it."

This echoes comments the Fast & Furious star made on Power 105.1's The Breakfast Show this week, where he claimed that if urban radio plays tracks by all artists the commercial stations should do the same.

"If I would've sung Sam Smith's version of [Stay With Me] that has a full choir on the chorus, my song would've been played on urban AC radio and that's it. It wouldn't have went any further than that," he insisted.

Black Rose is Tyrese's final solo effort, although not because of this. He will keep making music with other people, but wants to put his focus on raising his eight-year-old daughter Shayla Somer Gibson. Her mother is his ex-wife Norma Mitchell and the pair have been embroiled in a bitter custody battle, resulting in the pair splitting the care of their little girl.

"The truth is, you can't be chasing a music career when you have 50/50 joint legal custody," he explained. "I've turned down nine movies and four different TV shows, including Season 1 of Empire, because I was fighting for custody."

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