It has a lot more to do with the census than her sick beats (don’t worry, we’ll talk about those later). The census projects that by 2045, a demographic switch will take place—the white majority becomes the minority, and the multicultural minority becomes the majority. As you can see from the chart below, the Hispanic, Black, Asian, Multiracial and “Other” populations combined will surpass the White population. This is super interesting in and of itself, but that's not new news.
What is new news is that this minority to majority switch has already happened in culture, as seen across music, travel, food and entertainment.
Side note: once the minority population becomes the majority, will they be called the new majority, and the old majority the new minority? Or the non-majority? This is going to get complicated.
Let’s dive in. Another interesting fact about this growing multicultural group is their age. Currently, 44 percent of the Millennial population is multicultural, and the generation that follows is projected to be more than half multicultural by next year. This has huge implications—the switch is happening sooner for younger generations. And being that the millennial generation is begrudgingly beloved by all marketers, brands and agencies alike, we must reorient our thinking about who this group really is, and stat.
What else do you need to know about this group? The multicultural segment’s buying power grew from the billions to the trillions from 1990 to 2014, a 405 percent increase. This is more than double the increase in the buying power of the entire country, making them an incredibly powerful group both in spending and influence—their tastes and preferences have already changed culture, even before the demographic switch has taken place.
So what does Cardi B have to do with any of this? Nielsen says it well: “African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics—the ‘Multicultural’ consumers—are taking the music industry by storm. Given that Multicultural consumers account for 31 percent of the total spend on music and, on average, spend $7 more on music than the total market, this growing group is increasingly influencing the music market.” These multicultural groups aren’t just shaping the future of music, they have changed it, catapulting Latin Music, Hip Hop and K-pop to the top of the charts.
Cardi B is a perfect example of this new era taking hold of our ears. Although she self identifies as Black, she has an incredibly unique and more complex makeup, with a Trinidadian mom and Dominican dad. Her diversity has created an amazing infusion of Latin and Hip Hop music that you can’t not love (if you don’t, you’re missing out). And I’m not the only one obsessed with her jams; she dominated the charts from Billboard’s Top 100 Artist list, to Spotify’s Top 5 Most-Streamed list, to Vevo’s Top Viewed Music Video list. She also dethroned Queen Bey for having the most songs on the top 10 list in one week, which was an incredible feat I never thought would happen. This record was very recently surpassed by Ariana Grande; that’s because she see it, she like it, she want it, she got it.
We also can’t forget about all of Cardi's awards and more importantly, the fact that she is responsible for helping transform the mundane word “okay” into "okurrr”, which Refinery29 describes as a sparkling vibration that rolls playfully around the tongue. If you were confused about Pepsi’s Super Bowl commercial, now you know. Girlfriend is a #girlboss!
Spotify’s data is further evidence that the multicultural consumer has created a new mainstream. Latin music is “making its mark in playlists, with both ¡Viva Latino! and Baila Reggaeton finishing the year as Spotify’s third-and fourth-most-followed playlists.”
Latin music’s cultural infiltration doesn’t just stop with music; it also impacts fitness in a big way. Zumba is a prime example of this, a workout described as a fitnesstainment dance party whose soul is Latin dance music (and my personal favorite). But it’s not just for multicultural groups; it has taken the world by storm with 200,000 locations globally. The likes of Pitbull, Daddy Yankee and Shakira have recognized the power of this workout and actually drop their new songs at Zumba, using it as a non-traditional launch pad to reach a massive audience who clearly loves this genre.
How else has the music market shifted due to multicultural influences? Hip Hop knocked Rock and Roll off its throne as the most popular music genre for the first time ever in 2017. SoundCloud’s Top 50 artists were ALL Hip Hop artists. And I couldn’t write this article and not talk about the new up and comer on the scene, also ranking at the top of the charts, K-pop. You can spot a Korean pop song from miles away by the "combination of cheeky, colorful concept, clever choreography, cute girls, and catchy songwriting" that are said to be created by an algorithm in order to "produce a hit responsible for delivering perfect singing, perfect dancing, perfect videos, and perfect entertainment."
What came as a pleasant surprise to me is that as a nation, we are collectively embracing diversity. According to Pew Research, the majority of Americans say diversity makes their country a better place to live, more than many other countries (although this does slightly vary by age, political beliefs, education and race).
Another factor playing a role in America’s new-found tastes is the globalization of culture, resulting in a hyper connection and worldly awareness that has never existed at this level before.
In looking at MRI trending over time from 2010 to 2018, people saying that they “like to learn about foreign cultures” jumped from 60% to 68%. Not only are people embracing diversity, they’re also seeking it out.
Because of this, our preferences are taking a trip around the world—from our taste buds to our fingertips.
Global travel is skyrocketing with 1.8 billion travelers taking international trips in 2020, 2x more than the past decade. What’s cool is that it’s not just an increase in international travel, but also an increase to different regions around the world, as you can see from the chart below.
There’s no doubt that the increase in global travel has had a domino effect on our taste buds, which are now craving more diversity through global cuisines. In a Smithsonian Mag interview with the late and great Anthony Bourdain, they talk about the poetic nature of this: “‘I think we’re reaching our human potential, food-wise.’ Bourdain sounds like he’s describing a consciousness raising, an expansive way of connecting more deeply with other people. He’s almost evangelical about it. The spiritual globalism, you might say, is at the heart of the food frenzy culture.”
Another example of our changing tastes is seen with shows from different countries becoming popular in America due to global platforms like YouTube and Netflix. For example, Netflix’s German-made show, Dark, had 90% viewership outside of Germany.
Unfortunately, there are certain industries that are way late to the party for embracing diversity, from Advertising to Hollywood. The #OscarsSoWhite movement that started a few years ago was created to raise awareness about the imbalance of diversity on the silver screen. The silver lining? It’s finally looking up. Critics are predicting that this movement will take a back seat at this Sunday’s Oscars ceremony due to the record-breaking number of diverse nominees in Academy history.
What does this all mean? Our culture has been influenced in amazing ways by multicultural people. In this new mainstream melting pot, tastes will continue to change giving rise to new and exciting songs, shows, food and more. Anyone looking to understand their core audience on a deeper level must start with this mindset and should constantly be evaluating the change in their passions to better communicate and resonate.