Virtual rapper dropped by record label after racism complaints

(CNN) – Major music label Capitol Records has dropped a newly-debuted “robot rapper” amid criticism that the virtual character was offensive to Black artists.

FN Meka, using the avatar of a Black male cyborg with a partly shaved head and green braids, debuted its first single under the record label earlier this month.

But Capitol Records said Tuesday that it has “severed ties with the FN Meka project, effective immediately” and called its decision to sign the project “insensitive.”

The label also apologized for “not asking enough questions about equity and the creative process behind it.”

The decision comes after industry professionals said the character was fashioned out of reductive stereotypes.

A nonprofit activist group posted an open letter to Capitol Records, calling on the label to drop the character and remove it from all platforms. The group also demanded that all funds spent on the project be directed toward causes that support young Black artists.

FN Meka is a project of the label Factory New, the first in what the company hoped would be a roster of virtual music artists. It is generated partly by artificial intelligence but voiced by a real human.

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