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Last Updated: Monday, 2 August, 2004, 09:25 GMT 10:25 UK
Rock stars awarded urban acclaim
By Ian Youngs
BBC News Online entertainment staff

R&B duo Floetry are up for three Urban Music Awards
Rock and jazz stars are to be embraced by the urban music scene through two new awards at an urban music ceremony.

The urban scene, associated with rappers and R&B singers, has previously been a world away from that of mainly white guitar-wielding rock bands.

But now rock and jazz categories have been added for the second year of the Urban Music Awards, held in November.

R&B duo Floetry lead the nominations with three while Jamie Cullum is up for two awards including best jazz act.

The full nominations will be revealed on Thursday and are supposed to represent all urban and underground artists, according to organisers.

The inclusion of rock and jazz received a lukewarm welcome from the urban music press.

Jazz was probably the first urban genre that ever existed and is still a major influence in rap and neo-soul
Simon Das
Touch magazine
"Does the inclusion of these genres make a difference? Not really, it just adds to the colourful spectrum that is contemporary music in the 21st century," according to Toussaint Davy, editor of Tense magazine.

He said the industry had changed radically in the last five years so most genres now included at least a bit of everything else.

Simon Das, editor of Touch magazine, said he was not surprised at the changes.

"Urban music today isn't necessarily defined by a specific genre, like rap, rock or garage - it's about a shared set of cultural ethics," he said.

Lifetime achievement

"It's about a reverence to cultural movements like hip-hop, which was in itself a construct of sixties R&B, rock 'n' roll and seventies disco."

Jazz was "probably the first urban genre that ever existed", he added.

Meanwhile, Mercury-nominated rapper Ty has two nominations and singer Beverley Knight will get a lifetime achievement award.

The awards, run by Invincible magazine, include categories for best hip-hop act, best R&B act, best house DJ as well as best world music act and best crossover chart act.

The ceremony, to be held on 9 November at London's Barbican, will be hosted by former EastEnders actors Gary Beadle and Michelle Gayle.

Do you think rock and jazz should be included in the Urban Music Awards? What should "urban" mean - or should it be used at all? Send your views using the form below.

'Urban'is just a term coined by record executives to make the title music sound like it's original.
Fionnbharr Carter, Bedford, England

If 'urban' music actually meant 'urban' then, of course, certain rock music should be eligible - 'In the City' by the Jam, 'Alternative Ulster' by Stiff Little Fingers - however, 'urban' simply means 'black' in which case rock music does not fit in the pigeon hole. 'Urban' is simply a misnomer, in much the same way as 'r&b' is nowadays - it used to mean 'rhythm and blues' whereas it should mean 'rubbish & bland'
Carl, Liverpool, UK

I dislike the term 'urban', as essentially it is meaningless. The Clash and The Smiths, for example, were heavily influenced by the city that surrounded them- taking the literal meaning of the word, that would define them as 'urban', though the term isn't intended to cover them. It's a stupid term, meaning nothing, and I think it should be dropped.
Sarah, Glasgow

Urban is just another way of not labelling some genres of music 'black'! The term urban is used to describe any music which is originally or generally performed by black people. Commercial media and record labels cannot be bothered to break down black music into the various catergories it comes in such as hip-hop, r'n'b, reggae etc, and so have come up with the term 'urban' to lump them all into one category - i.e. "keep them in their place". It's offensive. How can Bob Marley, Eminem and Jamelia all be Urban???
Melissa, London

Urban - stupid name, makes the music seem trivial and just purely fashion led (advertisers, wake up and dont be so lazy!) Jazz - should it be included?.... think about its roots for a minute..... of course it should! Rock - okay, so we're not talking of stuff like Slayer here but I'm sure just the existance of N.E.R.D and their genre-crossing should be a cause for debate here.
matt clarke, ipswich, suffolk

The word urban is now and forever connected to being black. It has in fact replaced the word black. Hip-hop, R'n'B were not that long ago seen as black music, now we have 'urban' music. Britain claims to be an ever integrating/diverse country but we still insist on separating everything where ever we can, with music as one of the easiest targets. Black music generates large amounts of money in Britain and has done so for a long time, it forms a large part of the British charts. Yet the 'BRITS' seems to ignore this fact year after year. We have the'MOBO's' which white artists have always done well in, but the 'MOBO's' are seen as a black music award. Now have the the Urban Music Awards which are now going to include 'Rock Music'. Why not have one major music award like the 'Grammy's' that would include and cover all the various music styles and be seen as the most prestigious music award to receive? With voting still done mostly by the music bosses again across all the various music styles.
Joe, London

It is the first time I've heard that rock and jazz has anything to do with "urban". It leads me to wonder why there aren't rock songs on an urban hits album. To me urban music isn't about instruments. It is very rare to see the main singer(s) playing an instrument at an urban live show. The music tends to be created in the background with a computer. Jazz and rock music is more about the artists & their instruments and what sounds they can put together. I don't really know what these awards show about an artist or band, usually it's about popularity and not talent. From this article "urban" seems to include every type of music, but I would class it as mainly rap and R'n'B. I would certainly not class rock bands such as AC/DC or Saxon as urban, they are just rock bands and nothing else. In short I do not think rock or jazz music should be included in the Urban awards.
John, UK, Berks

White guitar bands should not be allowed to be included in the Urban Music Awards. Do you ever see any 'urban' kids listening to that stuff? No!
Winston Marshall, London, England

A emphatic no, as the lines between genres are so thin as it is, and jazz has become the euphemism for any new style of a music that comes along and is thus creating confusion amongst listeners and buyers alike.
Eric Alan, Cape Town South Africa

The term 'urban' was created by some white middle class record executive who was too afraid to use the word 'black'. It is a disgraceful misinterpretation - as are the terms 'garage' and 'r 'n' b' which have also been hi-jacked from their original genre. The record industry is incredibly racist and patronising and creates division where in reality music is one thing that could possibly unite us all.
Don Tempi, London, GB

Urban means from the inner city. Surely bands like The Jam, The Sex Pistols and The Specials originated this in England. Should they be getting lifetime achievement awards at this type of awards ceremony. The awards should now be recognising bands like the Libertines, The Ordinary Boys and The Coral.
Mark, Cambridge

Urban music is now old and has passed its sell-by date. Like people themselves, music is leaving the city. Look out for the rural explosion or as it's otherwise known 'urbarn music'.
Vinny Ramone, UK

Yes. I also think that rock and jazz should also be included in the MOBO's considering the fact that they are both forms of "Music of Black Origin". And anyway, this is the Urban Music Awards not the Black Music Awards and the "Urban" scene is and always has been about capturing the sound of the streets and the voice for the young generation and this is exactly what rock and jazz music does.
Daniel Watson, Ipswich

According to Chambers concise dictionary: urban - of or belonging to a city. I find the definition of urban music ridiculous. Any music written within a city can be classed as urban, in the same way that any music written in the country could be classed as rural. Therefore, you can urban rock, urban punk, urban country, urban jazz ad infinitum. The label urban is so generic as to be useless. What's wrong with sticking with regular genre classifications? This smacks of something that is done to keep people in work. Utterly pointless.
Chris Loat, Brighton, England

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