Two Black Country Singers Make History By Debuting At No. 1
Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CRS
Two Black country artists have just made history. Jimmie Allen became the second Black artist to ever land a No. 1 single with his debut “Best Shot.” For Allen, it’s the leading track from his debut album, Mercury Lane, which was released last month.
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Allen took to Twitter to express his shock and thank radio program directors for believing in his music. “Wow. The No. 1 song on country radio right now,” he said in a video on the social media network, adding that he often had to “fight” for the song. “If you’re out there chasing a dream, don’t quit. Trust me. Don’t quit.” But Allen wasn’t the only Black country music singer to make history in a typically white-dominated genre. Kane Brown’s Experiment debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts. It is the first sophomore album from a country artist to make it to the top spot on the 200 chart since 2014. Brown has outspoken up about how his experience as Black artist makes his journey different from most of his peers. In a now-deleted tweet, Brown talked about the discrimination he faced at the hands of the country music establishment. “Some people in Nashville who have pub deals won’t write with me because I’m Black,” he wrote. He also recalled “getting looked down on just because of your skin,” at this year’s CMA Music Festival.
Despite all that they’ve been through, both Allen and Brown follow in the footsteps of Hootie & the Blowfish lead singer Darius Ruckermade, who was the first Black artist ever to receive the Country Music Association New Artist of the Year award, and Charley Pride, who was named entertainer of the year in 1971 and best male vocalist in 1971 and 1972. Allen and Brown aren’t just content to make history on the charts together. The two are slated to hit the road together on Brown’s Live Forever Tour in January.


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