Hoedown hold up! The Black Yeehaw Agenda is on and poppington…
BOSSIP’s country bureau was geeked for Amazon Music’s announcement today about For Love & Country, a new Amazon Music Original feature-length documentary that proclaims country music has always been Black music. 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. Directed by director and photographer Joshua Kissi, For Love & Country examines country music through the personal stories of a new generation of Black artists claiming space in Nashville—and helping to transform the genre in the process. The For Love & Country trailer is out today, and the film will release April 7 in the Amazon Music app and on Prime Video. Check out the trailer below:
YES! This is so dope and overdue and we’re particularly excited to see more from Joshua Kissi, who has done so much incredible work with Beyoncé and in the entertainment and fashion space.
“What I’ve come to realize is country music as a genre is just as complex as this country itself,” Joshua Kissi said in a release about the documentary. “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.”
We’re also excited to see Mickey Guyton and Jimmie Allen taking part in the doc — as two of the hottest artists in country music today.
“I’ve always believed in the old saying, ‘if you can see it, you can be it,’” Mickey Guyton said in the release for “For Love & Country”. “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.”
In addition to the big names of color in the country landscape, “For Love & Country” also introduces us to and follows the new crop of Black artists who are seeking to change country’s long-held identity as music by-and-for white audiences.
As seen in the trailer out today, For “Love & Country” features interviews and performances from current Best New Artist Grammy-nominee Jimmie Allen, Grammy-nominated Blanco Brown, Breakthrough Artist for Amazon Music BRELAND, award-winning songwriter and 2021 Amazon Music Artist to Watch Shy Carter, Grammy-nominee Mickey Guyton, Grammy-nominee Valerie June, Grammy-nominee Amythyst Kiah, 2022 Artists to Watch for Amazon Music, Willie Jones and Reyna Roberts, Grammy-nominee Allison Russell, rising star Brittney Spencer, and pianist and singer-songwriter Frankie Staton. Local Nashville residents will also be featured, including 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,” Brittney Spencer said via 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.”
“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.”
In addition to the documentary trailer, Amazon Music has released “Black Myself,” an Amazon Original acoustic version of breakout star Amythyst Kiah’s incredible song, recorded during the filming process only for Amazon Music listeners. Listen to “Black Myself” here. Additional Amazon Original songs by artists featured in the film will roll out over the coming weeks, prior to For Love & Country releasing on April 7 in the Amazon Music app and on Prime Video. For Love & Country was directed by Joshua Kissi and produced by DPM Projects and Pizza Night.
Are you excited for this? Who are some of your favorite country artists?