February is Black History Month. This month, we celebrate the many achievements and contributions of the Black community and the country music artists that help make this genre so great. 
Charley Pride
There is no doubt that Charley Pride was the MOST successful Black country singer in history. His career was historic in the fact that he was the first Black performer at the Grand Ole Opry behind DeFord Bailey. Him along with two other Black artists (DeFord Bailey and Darius Rucker) are the only three Black artists to be members of the Opry. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame back in 2000 and in 2017 received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.   Charlie also received  CMA Award for  Lifetime Achievement.    He was best known for songs like “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’,” and “I’m Just Me,” (winning three Grammys). 

DeFord Bailey
DeFord Bailey isn’t a common name in today’s world but his history with Nashville and country music was significant. He was the first performer to be introduced on the Grand Ole Opry, the first African-American performer on the show, and the first performer to have his music recorded in Nashville. He was a very talented musician and people often referred to him as a “Harmonica Wizard”. Throughout his life and career he faced many challenges being a Black country artist. It wasn’t until later after his death in 1982 where he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame (2005).

Darius Rucker
As lead singer for Hootie and the Blowfish, Darius Rucker started his music career in 1986. It wasn’t until 2008 where he would launch his country music career and become the first ever Black artist to win the CMA Award for New Artist of the Year. From there Darius Rucker’s career exploded and had a number one song with, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” – the first Black artist since Charley Pride’s “Night Games” in 1983. In October of 2012, Darius became the third Black member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Jojo Mason
Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Jojo Mason started playing hockey in hopes to make a career out of it, but a herniated disc cut it short. Shortly after he met songwriter/producer Dan Swinimer and worked on developing his vocals. He signed to Manicdown Productions in 2014 and released his debut single, “It’s All Good”, in early 2015. From 2015 to today, he has released multiple songs including “Red Dress”, “Made For You”, “Better On You”, “Chemical”, and more!

Mickey Guyton
Inspired by seeing singers on TV and throughout her Texas community, Mickey always knew she wanted to be a country music singer. She tried out for American Idol and got cut just before the live shows. Finally getting a record deal, she released her debut single and performed it at the Opry “Better Than You Left Me” in 2015. In 2016, she was nominated for the New Female Vocalist of the Year at the ACM awards. In 2020 her powerful song, “Black Like Me” which went viral in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the nationwide protests this summer. “If you think we live in the land of the free,” she sings, “you should try to be Black like me.” She also became the first black woman to perform solo at the ACM Awards with that song.

Kane Brown
Kane Brown went from singing songs and uploading them on YouTube to becoming the first artist to top all five of Billboard’s main country charts simultaneously with his debut single “What Ifs.” With over 20 award nominations and multiple chart topping songs, Kane Brown has become one of the most success Black artists in country music. In an interview with People, he said he didn’t find out he was biracial until he was seven or eight years old, saying, “I thought I was full white … I found out that I was biracial and I still wasn’t thinking anything of it, but then I started getting called the N-word. I didn’t even know what it meant. I learned what it meant, and that’s when it started affecting me. I got in fights over it when I was little.”

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