Saturday, August 20, 2011

Black Country Music Fans Do Exist

I remember when Terry McMillan tweeted about the lack of black people who like country music. I wanted to wave my hands in the air, stomp my feet and shout, “I’m black and I love country music!” But then I settled into the truth…there are not a whole lot of black people rocking to Sugarland or Taylor Swift. And that’s the truth.

Like Terry, I don’t understand why more black people haven’t crossed the music lines to give country music a big fat hug. Well…yeah…actually I do. I think a lot of black people think it’s “redneck” music steeped in a tradition of racist hate. Many of us think it’s too slow, too hokey and got too much twang. You know how I know we think this? Because I used to think the exact same thing. But then I saw Alan Jackson on the “American Music Awards” years ago and all that changed.

Normally, when a country song would come on during an award show, I would flip the channel, go get something to eat…anything just so I wouldn’t have to listen to it. For some reason, that day I decided to listen up. The song was called “Remember When” and it was about this couple growing old together and looking back on their lives. Here’s a verse:

Remember when thirty seemed so old
Now lookin' back it's just a steppin' stone
To where we are,
Where we've been
Said we'd do it all again
Remember when

Well, gosh darnit! I sat in my living room and cried…cried like a baby at that Alan Jackson song. And that’s when my love for country music began. Country music tells a story. It’s not just about bumpin’and grindin’ or bling or how many hoes you got. Don’t get me wrong. I love bumpin’ and grindin’ music and I love to get down to the latest tune about bling. But sometimes you want a little more, and country music gives me that.

There has been some talk about the roots of country music…that black folk started it all with blues. I’m not going to go into all that history stuff because I’m not a history buff and this blog post is not an essay. But I mentioned that to say this: I’m proud of Darius Rucker (yup, the dude from Hootie and the Blowfish). He is now a bona fide country music sensation…one of the few black country singers in HISTORY. I love his music and I’m happy that he is bulldozing barriers.

Well, let me wrap this post up. I always said I don’t want to go on and on because we have short attention spans these days. Anyway, it’s hard to believe that I used to be one of those people who said, “I love all kinds of music except country and heavy metal.” I still don’t like heavy metal, but I sure do like a good ole country song! Let me leave you with two of my favs. The first is Alan Jackson’s “Remember When” (of course) and the second is Darius Rucker’s “Alright.” Enjoy.

P.S. Isn’t it ironic that this post started off with “I remember when…” and the song that introduced me to country music was called “Remember When”? Believe it or not, I didn’t do that on purpose. Have a stupendously super Saturday, ya’ll!

Alan Jackson
"Remember When"

Darius Rucker

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