Crossing Racial Barriers

Charlie Pride (1934-2020)

Black Country Singers: Charlie Pride With Jimmie Allen

Earlier this month Charlie Pride passed at the age of 86. Charlie Pride sold more than 25 million records during a career that began in the mid-1960s, won three Grammy Awards and had more than 30 No. 1 hits between 1969 and 1984. Charlie Pride won the Country Music Association’s top male vocalist and entertainer of the year award in 1972 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Last month Charlie Pride won the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award by the Country Music Association. Charlie Pride was one of the first black country singers signed to a major record label. In words by Charlie Pride: “My older sister one time said, ‘Why are you singing THEIR music?’” Pride said. “But we all understand what the y’all-and-us-syndrome has been. See, I never as an individual accepted that, and I truly believe that’s why I am where I am today.” Charlie Pride also added “they used to ask me how it feels to be the `first colored country singer,‘” he told The Dallas Morning News in 1992. “Then it was `first Negro country singer;’ then `first black country singer.′ Now I’m the `first African-American country singer.′ That’s about the only thing that’s changed. This country is so race-conscious, so ate-up with colors and pigments. I call it `skin hangups’ — it’s a disease.” (Copywrite Disclaimer)

Mickey Guyton:

Grammy-nominated Candace Mycale Guyton (born June 17, 1983), known professionally as Mickey Guyton, is a black American country music singer and songwriter. Mickey Guyton is turning a mirror on country music by speaking her truth and reclaiming both her career and identity. Guyton has re-introduced herself after years of internal doubt and feeling unable to be herself as a Black woman in a genre dominated by white men. Her most recent album called “Bridges,” which come out on Sept. 11, contains “What Are You Gonna Tell Her,” a pointed critique of the barriers that women face, and “Black Like Me,” revealing her own early experiences with racism. Other songs like “Heaven Down Here” and “Bridges” show her attempting to bridge the cultural and ideological divide. Mickey recalls writing music for everyone else while forgetting that she had a unique story of her own that she could tell. Guyton said that she was inspired to begin a singing career at the age of eight when she saw LeAnn Rimes sing the racially acclaimed song “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the start of a Texas Rangers game. Mickey Gruton is married to Guy Savoy and they are currently expecting their first child. (Copywrite Disclaimer)

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