FN Meka virtual rapper racial stereotyping

Released: April 2019
Occurred: August 2022

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FN Meka is a self-described 'virtual rapper' initially designed by digital designer Brandon Le and music manager Anthony Martini, co-founders of 'next-generation music company' Factory New, to sell NFTs and post videos of its lifestyle, including Bugatti jets, helicopters and a Rolls Royce custom-fit with a Hibachi grill.

The rapper made its debut in April 2019 and quickly became popular, garnering over a billion views on TikTok. Signed to Capitol Records in August 2022, FN Meka was the first 'AI-generated' rapper to be signed to a major label.

Reaction

Shortly after its signing to Capitol, FN Meka was in the spotlight for alleged racial stereotyping of black people, notably that its creators had not used Black singers to record its voice, contrary to public statements.

Meka was dropped by Capitol Records ten days later its signing.

US rapper Kyle the Hooligan subsequently claimed that he was the original voice of FN Meka, and announced that he intends to sue Brandon Le and Factory New.

Transparency

Factory New stands accused of fabricating the origin of FN Meka's voice and, given the White and Asian backgrounds of its makers, of racial appropriation, hypocrisy and fakeness.

Operator: Factory New; Capitol Music Group/Capitol Records
Developer:
Factory New

Country: USA

Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts

Purpose: Entertain; Sell NFTs

Technology: Augmented Reality (AR); Virtual reality (VR); NFT
Issue: Bias/discrimination - race, ethnicity; Hypocrisy

Transparency: Governance; Marketing

System

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