In late September, an ongoing dispute between R&S Records and U.S. artist Eddington Again boiled over into a public and racially charged spectacle. Label founder Renaat Vandepapeliere publicly apologized for his choice of words in their email correspondence, but apparently not before A&R Raj Chaudhuri cut ties with the Belgian brand.
In a statement shared across social media channels, Chaudhuri – who also performs as Raji Rags – expressed skepticism that Vandepapeliere fully recognized the error of his ways. “After over 12 months within R&S working as A&R, it has become apparent that there is no way to change Renaat,” he wrote. “Renaat’s positions on everything from the roots of techno, to Black Lives Matter, to charity initiatives, to diversity, to basic decency when speaking about/with artists, are completely opposite to where I stand.”
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Chaudhuri went on to explain that he discontinued his business relationship with R&S as soon as Vandepapeliere’s exchange with Eddington Again went public. “It was when this happened that myself and R&S parted ways,” he wrote. “I have only spoken about the issue now as I needed to take legal advice surrounding my departure.”
Among other things, Vandepapeliere remarked that he doesn’t “sign color” and referred to a prospective signee as a “full pure breed black artist” in his communications with Eddington Again. The “Sweet” singer/songwriter also took issue with the label’s silence on matters of racial equality as Black Lives Matter protests erupted in the wake of George Floyd‘s death.
During his yearlong tenure with R&S Records, Chaudhuri worked to increase diversity of signees by inking deals with the likes of More Time Records – a collective that includes artists from Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan. He wrote that he was also working on a series of 12-inch records including music by predominantly Black, female artists slated to debut in 2021.
In the end, though, Chaudhuri saw it best to cut ties with R&S Records. “I cannot work with Renaat when I know his views on race and gender are not as progressive as some of the music that has been released on his label,” he closed out.