The hip hop website Okayplayer has been a prominent force in promoting the top underground voices in hip hop and alternative music since its foundation as an online community in 1999.Yesterday however, allegations surfaced against the company’s CEO and publisher Abiola Oke, regarding alleged misconduct and alleged inappropriate behavior, which led to the announcement of his resignation.
Oke’s resignation was announced by the site’s founder, The Roots’ drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, who originally formed a collective under the name in the 1980s before it turned into a website. Oke had been appointed to the position of CEO at the age of 34 back in 2015.
This announcement comes after several women from Okayplayer and OkayAfrica made a series of allegations accusing Oke of various forms of misconduct. “Effective immediately, we have severed all ties and accepted the resignation of Abiola Oke as CEO and Publisher of Okayplayer and OkayAfrica,” Questlove’s post reads. “We take the allegations that have surfaced very seriously, and we stand with the brave women who came forward.”
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Oke’s alleged misconduct includes alleged gaslighting, alleged inappropriate behavior, alleged manipulation, alleged poor conduct, alleged verbal abuse, allegedly underpaying employees and alleged wrongful termination among a slew of other claims made regarding his leadership.
“From 2015 to 2020, several Black Women working across Okayplayer and OkayAfrica were subject to a lack of support and resources, below market salaries, inadequate leadership, targeting and sabotage, slander, verbal abuse, inappropriate behavior, gaslighting, lack of empathy, manipulation, rationalizing poor or unethical conduct and wrongful termination,” the letter reads.
— Ivie Ani (@ivieani) June 24, 2020
Okayplayer hosts a variety of users, from recording artists, who even have home pages hosted on the site, to individuals who contribute to the message boards, the most popular part of the website. The site also has specified websites for different music genres: the Revivalist for jazz, OkayAfrica for African music, LargeUp for reggae, and OkayFuture for electronic music.