No black artist got a No. 1 hit on Billboard charts in 2013

drake kendrickHere is a shocking statistic that no one thought would ever happen in the modern era.

Not a single black artist scored a No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts in 2013, the first time that has happened in 55 years.

Writer Chris Molanphy, who surveys the pop charts in a piece written for Slate, says this represents a huge contrast to 10 years ago when a person of a color recorded every chart-topping hit. Rather, African-American artists were featured on other artists’ songs last year, such as Rihanna on Eminem’s “The Monster” and T.I. and Pharrell on Robin Thicke’s inescapable summer hit “Blurred Lines.” But no black artist had their own No. 1 hit. 

And here is a another surprising development. White artists topped the No. 1 spot on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart in 44 out of the 52 weeks last year.

Time magazine noted that this extends to this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in which there is not one living African American who will be inducted this year. Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band sax player Clarence Clemons will be inducted posthumously.

To try to explain why this happened, Molanphy wrote: “Music fans are playing out an unironic version of Stephen Colbert’s joke about not seeing color…and yet somehow, when the data is compiled about what we’re all buying and streaming, the Timberlakes and Matherses and Macklemores keep winding up atop the stack, ahead of the Miguels and J. Coles.”

Terry Shropshire
Terry Shropshire

I'm a lover of words, pictures, people and The Ohio State Buckeyes. A true journalist from the soul.