For Love & Country, an Amazon Music Original documentary about Black artists in country music, debuts globally on April 7 on Amazon Music and the Prime Video streaming service.
"[Country music] has always been Black music," reads a press release. "The genre not only owes part of its origin story to Black musicians, but through its history, prominent Black voices have pushed the genre forward with little recognition or fanfare."
Director Joshua Kissi and his team will build this narrative by focusing on Frankie Staton, a recording artist and the creator of the first Black Country Music Showcase at the Bluebird Cafe in 1997, as well as contemporary acts Jimmie Allen, Blanco Brown, Shy Carter, Mickey Guyton, Willie Jones, Valerie June, Amythyst Kiah, Reyna Roberts, Allison Russell, Brittney Spencer and Amazon Music's reigning Breakthrough Artist, Breland.
"What I've come to realize is country music as a genre is just as complex as this country itself," Kissi shared in a press release. "Now is the moment to stand up for the voices that have always mattered throughout time, especially the musicians who didn't get the credit when it was due."
"I've always believed in the old saying, 'if you can see it, you can be it,'" added Guyton in a press release. "However, it's no secret there has been a lack of representation of Black artists in mainstream country music for years. That's why I hope little Black girls growing up now can see us, artists like Brittney, Reyna, Amythyst, Allison, Valerie, Frankie and me, and know they have a place here in country music. We all do."
Nashville residents interviewed for the documentary include journalist and New York Times bestselling author Andrea Williams, Davidson County criminal court clerk and former vice mayor Howard Gentry, academic and author Amanda Marie Martínez and rapper Mike Floss.
"This film is our collective story, in our own words," Spencer shared in a press release. "We're all carving our own unique paths. We've all got our own dreams and challenges, and our own ways of navigating them. I hope when people see this film, they better understand the conversation of race in country music. I hope it humanizes the discussed issues and puts a crowd of Black, beautiful faces to a topic the public has heavily engaged & debated, particularly over the last two years. I'm happy to be a part and share my story."
Both the trailer and Kiah's Amazon Original acoustic recording of "Black Myself" got released in conjunction with the film announcement.
"In telling this story, it was imperative for us to amplify the personal narratives of these wonderfully diverse country artists, because in them lie the stories of Black contributions to the genre," said Raymond Roker, global head of editorial for Amazon Music. "These are also very universal stories of acceptance, being welcomed into spaces we choose to occupy despite how open the door is to us, and how stories and history can become marginalized over time. The title of the film is also a reminder that these artists have all come from a place of love, adoration, and even reverence for country music's past, its heroes, and contributors across the spectrum."
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