The Future of Country Music is Black, Beautiful & Proud


The Future of Country Music is Black, Beautiful & Proud


KEVIN L. CLARK

It’s been a long time since the Grand Ole Opry has been rocked like this.
Here’s a history lesson for you all, if you didn’t know: country music was created by Black people. Just ask Ken Burns. His 2019 docuseries, Country Music, spent 16-hours covering a century of the Grand Ole Opry-esque genre with the same painstaking attention to detail seen in his other award-winning series, such as the The Central Park Five. “The fact somebody has walked into country music, that is not of the color that people presume the people of country music are, and just said, ‘I’m home’ — that is great,” Burns said about Lil Nas X in a Pitchfork video released June 2019. “This is where we need to go.”

From “Old Town Road” to “You Win Again” by Ray Charles, country and western music is indebted to African and Black American traditions. Stars like DeFord Bailey and Charley Pride spent their lives marginalized, despite being pioneers in their own right. And besides those two musicians, Darius Rucker and recently Kane Brown are the only other Black members to grace the Opry stage. Other rising Black artists have put some much needed “paint where it ain’t,” enabling them to dominate the country music charts irrespective of era.

Yes, country music is experiencing some history-making changes that cannot be ignored. Here are 5 Black artists who are influencing and reshaping the vibrations of the contemporary country sound. If you don’t know, now you know.

1. Mickey Guyton

2. Cedric Burnside

3. Amythyst Kiah

4. Robert Finley

5. Willie Jones

The Future of Country Music is Black, Beautiful & Proud


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