Black women in country music are making big strides.
On Thursday, Mickey Guyton appears on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, hot off co-hosting the ACM Awards, and she talks about pushing for a more inclusive space in country.
DeGeneres asks Guyton about the story that she was planning to quit country music before she ended up writing her now Grammy-nominated song “Black Like Me”.
“Yes, I was. I had been trying to pursue a country music career for, at the time, like 8 years, and constatly we were told, not just as a Black woman, but as a woman, we were told why we will fail in this industry,” she recalls. “I was just ready to give it up, and it wasn’t until my husband told me that the reason I wasn’t making it in this industry is because I was running away from everything that makes me different. And that changed everything for me.”
Guyton also talks about releasing “Black Like Me”, which she had written two years earlier, after the murder of George Floyd.
“I was like, ‘I’ve got to put this song out,'” she says. “Not because I’m trying to make it about me, but trying to help people heal.”
In the face of continued racist harassment, particularly online, Guyton says, “There’s plenty of times I question, on a daily basis, why I’m still doing this. And that’s when I get a message from a Black girl telling me I’ve given her courage to want pursue a career in country music. Or someone in the LGBTQIA+ community that are telling me, ‘You gave me the strength to live my truth in the country genre.'”