On Monday, April 4, Urbaanite had an opportunity to attend the screening of Joshua Kissi’s new Amazon Music documentary, “For Love & Country” at the Country Music Hall of Fame. This incredible documentary details the experiences of many black country artists – some big names, some new names, and some names you didn’t know you needed to know. Artists like Willie Jones, a former X-Factor contestant, Mickey Guyton, the first black female to host the Academy of Country Music Awards, Frankie Stanton, co-founder of the Black Country Music Association, and more share their stories about how country music chose them. From children on farms to random college courses inspiring a new passion, everyone has a different path that leads them to the same stage.
Though country music can be traced back to 17th century Africa and the banjo originated there, African American artists still struggle to be seen as “authentic” just because of how they look. Growing up by the backroads in Texas, in the wetlands of Louisiana, or even owning a small farm now is not always enough to be perceived as “country” when you have a certain tint to your skin or beat to your sound. While struggling to find a place in this rigidly defined industry, they hold their heads high, dig their boots in deep, and break the molds that were created to keep out artists like them. Adding a little flare to the Nashville sound, these artists have found ways to make country music more diverse and accessible. After all, “Country music has always been black music.”
After you watch “For Love & Country” on Amazon Music, be sure to tag us, @Urbaanite, and tell us what you think. And don’t forget to support your new favorite artists- we know there will be many.
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