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We are the change: Khalid and SZA applaud minorities and women rising in music


Kacie TomitaKhalid and SZA are competing against each other for Best New Artist at the Soul Train Music Awards, and they’ve both been mentioned as possible New Artist nominees at the Grammy Awards. Both singers agree that opportunities for minorities and women are improving in music.

“I feel like music is changing, and it takes us as a whole. We are the change.” Khalid tells Billboard. ”We do have the power to change things.”

SZA says urban music is finally getting its overdue recognition.

“It’s just a matter of: Are you noticed when you come to the surface? Hip-hop right now is higher-selling than pop music. We know where it originated from; it’s not a f***ing secret,” she says.

“It’s a matter of when other people do hip-hop and they don’t look like me, ­suddenly it’s ­innovative: ‘I’ve never heard this before,'” she adds. “No, you have. For the last 100 years.”

Khalid is proud that R&B and hip-hop is now acknowledged as the most popular music genre.

“When I was growing up, when I was younger — well, I’m only 19, but I didn’t see a lot of people who embodied me in the mainstream,” he says. “But they were there. I feel like now, hip-hop and R&B is so alive, so dominant to the point where it influences others. And it’s great.”  

SZA loves that the success of R&B and hip-hop is making music less categorized.   

“That’s the word: genre-less. It’s like everything converging in the most beautiful f***ing way.” 

Khalid and SZA both received four nominations for the Soul Train Music Awards, which will air November 26 on BET.  

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