There is a whole lineage of Black musicians that hasn’t fit the stereotypical mold: Jimi Hendrix, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Shuggie Otis, Prince, H.R. It’s within this space that Lenny Kravitz fits. While Sade found she could sit comfortably within the system and make things work extremely well. Gary Bartz didn’t want to be in a box. So if he wanted play funky music, let the outsiders call him a sell-out. Just a teenager, Betty Wright navigated the male-dominated industry, and has continued to stay in it, guiding others. When Cody Chesnutt was dropped by his label, he recorded an album in his bedroom. The majors are no longer the powerhouses they once were. Small, independent labels are giving artists incredible freedom to stretch out. The same label that allowed Madlib to grow artistically is now doing the same for Dâm-Funk, and it’s thrilling to see where he’ll go next. Flying Lotus started his own label to do the same for other artists, like Thundercat. Georgia Anne Muldrow, Jamire Williams, and MeLo-X self-release their material, not having to answer to anyone but themselves. And look at the type of freedom Quantic and Alice Russell have. Who else records cumbia and spiritual soul in Colombia? Or moves fluently between old and modern soul like Myron & E? This new era will be defined by unlimited artistic freedom never before seen. Let’s not waste it.