Jazz Cartier Says What We’re All Thinking About Canadian Media

On Saturday night in Ottawa, Jazz Cartier’s Hotel Paranoia was recognized for Rap Recording of the Year… but at a non-televised gala before the main awards show. In his speech, also not televised, Jazz elegantly recognized his peers before speaking his truth about Canadian radio broadcasters and their evident bias against rap and the culture that comes with it.

After the ceremony, Jazz Cartier published his story about Canadian radio on Instagram:

• won best rap album of the year at the Junos tonight. Something that means a lot for me being from Toronto and also repping Canada. My drive to push the culture would be nothing if my mom wasn’t putting me on to the legend and someone I can call a mentor @kardinalo, Jelleestone, Michie Mee, Maestro, Point Blank, Main Source, Adam Bomb the list goes on man this shit is in my blood. Shoutout JB and GCP too. This means a lot to me but like I said this evening the Canadian radio is gonna have to stop bullshitting and start playing our own on our radio so these kids don’t feel the need to leave to the states in order to make it or get heard. That’s going to be one of my goals this year to make sure that happens. And also @thejunoawards while you guys enjoy all the hip hop in the world at your after parties, next year you gotta have this category filmed on television. Love ??? PS love to Drake, Belly, Tory & Tasha. You all inspire me I share this with you guys who deserve it more than I do.

A post shared by Jazz Cartier (@jacuzzilafleur) on

When Canadian radio doesn’t broadcast rap, and the Junos don’t broadcast the Rap Recording of the Year, Canadians’ exposure to rap and rap culture are limited. It would be irresponsible for me to go so far to say that this is intentional, but I can confidently say that Jazz Cartier and Canadian rap artists are not broadcast by the Junos and Canadian radio because too many old people are holding power positions in Canadian media.

That my tableful of young Millennial colleagues at Notable didn’t know the Junos even happened on Saturday is a sign. That the tableful of young Millennials didn’t see anything about the Junos on their social channels is a sign. That the Junos didn’t broadcast the Rap Recording of the Year award is a sign that either a) there isn’t a single young person working at Bell Media or, more likely, b) the young people working at Bell Media aren’t being listened to or given enough decision-making power.

Presumably, the Rap Recording of the Year award wasn’t broadcast out of fear that the winner (Jazz Cartier) would swear or say something off-putting to advertisers, which could be considered rap bias or prejudicial of Black culture. Also, dated.

Millennials know that rappers like Jazz Cartier, Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar, to name just a few, use their fame to raise awareness about issues like racism, violence and crime. Today, rap music is a vehicle for awareness and consistently communicates to Millennials, a generation of hip-hop, that rap is more than sex and violence — way, way more.

Jazz Cartier represents the new school of rap artists who connect lyrics with light, inspiring Millennials to hold their ideals and dreams close to their hearts. The lifestyles of Millennials are powered by aspiration, and rap is a light source for kids who want direction.

If there were more Millennials in power in Canadian media, one of them could have told the old power players at Bell Media about the new school of rap. If Jazz Cartier was broadcast, more Millennials would have talked about his Juno win on social media and Bell Media would have looked great in their advertiser’s eyes — especially since they’re all trying so hard to engage Millennials anyway.