On Wednesday (Aug. 17), Diddy took to Twitter to tweet a question. “Who killed R&B?” he asked. Half of Black Twitter responded with the standard answer: “It’s not dead,” or something to that degree while the others simply blamed him.
Like clockwork, the “R&B is dead” debate began, prompting Diddy to call a house meeting on Instagram Live later that day. Gathering the likes of Tank, Kehlani, Mary J. Blige, and Timbaland, he asked each of them to speak on the state of R&B and what they feel is missing. While the latter couldn’t conjure up more than two acts “keeping R&B alive,” Kehlani received her flowers, and Diddy even revealed that he has a collaboration with the blue water road singer and Ty Dolla $ign on his upcoming album.
Tank—the “Teddy Pendergrass of this generation,” according to Diddy—had a “come to Jesus” moment about his beloved genre ahead of the release of his final album, R&B Money.
Yet, leave it to a Black woman to make the most sense out of the tiresome debate. The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul explained, “You can’t kill something that’s in our DNA. It’s gonna keep transitioning from generation to generation to generation to generation. They was trying to kill it.”
She thanked radio stations for their relentless support of R&B, but ultimately felt singers “have to keep [themselves] alive.” Naming Chaka Khan, Etta James, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Jazmine Sullivan, and SWV, Mary declared that artists like these cannot be killed.
Watch the full Instagram Live debate below and share your thoughts.