Jimmie Allen Says Nation Music Is not Racist

Jimmie Allen leaves no room for interpretation when he says nation music is not racist. His Grammy nomination within the Greatest New Artist class proves it, he insists.

Speaking to Evan Paul on Taste of Country Nights, the “Freedom Was a Highway” singer was requested how he realized of his Grammy nomination. The 2022 Grammy nominations got here final November, simply as Allen was making ready to rehearse for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. His publicist woke him as much as share the information. You’ll be able to hear the complete change starting at about 8:55:

“After which when she informed me the class, it’s the Greatest New Artist,” Allen recollects. “And that’s all-genre, and I’m the one nation artist in that style.”

Saweetie, Olivia Rodrigo, Arlo Parks and Finneas are 4 extra of the ten nominees in complete within the class. The Grammys will air reside on CBS on April 3.

It isn’t unusual for a rustic artist to be included on this class — Ingrid Andress (2021), Luke Combs (2019), Margo Price (2019) and Maren Morris (2017) have all been nominated in recent times. Zac Brown Band was the final nation act to win the New Artist Grammy, in 2010.

“What my buddy mentioned makes it a giant deal,” Allen says. “He mentioned, ‘Jimmie, give it some thought. You’re a Black man that’s nominated for a Grammy, due to the success you had in nation music … Your story proper there may be killing the narrative — the false narrative — that folks have that nation music is racist.’”

“It’s not,” he says matter-of-factly, “As a result of if that was true, I wouldn’t have my profession. I wouldn’t have my Grammy nomination. My Grammy nomination didn’t come from hip-hop, didn’t come from R&B, didn’t come from rock — it got here from my success in nation music as a result of nation radio, nation household has supported me. And simply that, proper there alone, can encourage so many individuals and convey so many individuals collectively and begin to see that there’s extra love than hate on the market.”

Allen has by no means shied away from speaking about problems with race in nation music, and has, up to now, acknowledged issues throughout the style. In 2018, he spoke to the Guardian about range in nation music, noting that traditionally talking, “Nation music got here from Black folks — it began with the blues and bluegrass.”

He additionally famous that he thought Black artists started to get edged out of nation music within the second half of the twentieth century, with Motown music turning into the main focus for a lot of Black musicians, although Charley Pride and Ray Charles — each Black males — discovered success in nation.

“In nation music, we’re nonetheless behind the occasions,” Allen informed the publication on the time. “Outdoors of nation music, it wouldn’t be new to anybody to be a Black pop artist or a white rapper, however this style is totally different.”

In 2018, Allen had simply scored his first No. 1 nation airplay hit with “Greatest Shot.” He adopted that up with one other referred to as “Make Me Need To,” after which launched “This Is Us” with Noah Cyrus, a music that did not crack the Prime 40. “Freedom Was a Freeway” — a duet with Brad Paisley — is at No. 3 on Mediabase’s nation airplay chart this week. The music seems on the expanded model of Allen’s Bettie James EP, launched in 2021.

None of those wins got here rapidly for Allen, an artist who — after transferring to Nashville in 2007 — spent a decade searching for his break, as many do. “At first, issues weren’t going my approach,” he informed the Guardian. “I used to be one thing new — nobody was going to take an opportunity on a Black artist from Delaware.”

In 2022, when speaking about robust matters like race in nation music, Allen retains it constructive and preaches love. This was by no means extra obvious than within the months after Morgan Wallen was caught utilizing the N-word on digicam. The trade successfully banished Wallen for a number of months, however Allen told Bobby Bones he’d been speaking to Wallen day by day, providing help and empathy, although not condoning his actions.

Extra lately, Allen confirmed up in help of Mickey Guyton, who on Jan. 8 publicized a message she’d obtained from somebody upset that she was pursuing nation music as a vocal Black lady.

“All you folks discuss is your god rattling race and pores and skin shade,” the individual mentioned, partially.

attachment-Mickey Guyton IG


“Oh you realize … simply one other Saturday for us,” Allen commented. “That indisputable fact that he took outing of his day to jot down this whereas having a online game have his profile pic … he is a joke. Love sis.”

This concept {that a} group (on this case, nation music as a style) may be not racist however nonetheless shelter racists is on the heart of the dialog about race in nation music. The format has been good to Allen, however he is a unicorn, one thing he freely admits. In March 2021, SongData revealed a examine referred to as “Redlining in Nation Music: Illustration within the Nation Music Trade (2000-2020)” that involves some clear conclusions: Black, indigenous or individuals of shade (BIPOC) make up lower than 4 p.c of the industrial nation trade. This group receives 2.3 p.c of the airplay, with 96 p.c of that slice going to males. Simply 2.3 p.c of ACM Awards nominees and 1.6 p.c of CMA Awards nominees are individuals of shade (knowledge as quoted within the Tennessean).

Allen has gained New Artist of the 12 months awards at each the ACM Awards and CMA Awards. It isn’t clear if he’ll seem or carry out on the 2022 Grammy Awards this spring. On Monday (Feb. 7), he was introduced as a co-host of the 2022 ACM Awards alongside Gabby Barrett and Dolly Parton.

In the course of the full Taste of Country Nights, On Demand interview, Allen additionally talks about new music he is engaged on, in addition to the a number of tv productions he is part of.

The Greatest Nation Singer From Each State

Some states, like Oklahoma and Texas, are loaded with well-known nation singers. Others, like Nevada and Maine, are nonetheless searching for an actual breakthrough artist. See the perfect and most profitable nation music artist from all 50 states, beginning with Hank Williams and Alabama.

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