Wednesday, March 16, 2022 – "For Love & Country," an Amazon Music documentary about Black artists in country music, will be released April 7.
"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," an Amazon press release said.
Directed by director and photographer Joshua Kissi, "For Love & Country "examines country music through the personal stories of a new generation of Black artists including Mickey Guyton, Jimmie Allen, BRELAND, Brittney Spencer, Willie Jones, Reyna Roberts, Amythyst Kiah, Allison Russell, Valerie June, Frankie Staton and Blanco Brown. Some of the artists, such as Russell and June, fall more into the Americana genre.
"What I've come to realize is country music as a genre is just as complex as this country itself," said Joshua Kissi. "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,'" said Guyton. "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."
P>"This film is our collective story, in our own words," said Spencer. "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 and 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 tandem with the trailer, Amazon Music has released "Black Myself," an Amazon Original acoustic version of Kiah's song, recorded during the filming process
Additional Amazon Original songs by artists featured in the film will roll out over the coming weeks.
Mickey Guyton, a Dallas native, follows in the footsteps of female singers like Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride on this 4-song, 16-minute CD that's probably meant as more of an introduction for those who never heard her 2014 very much under the radar EP, "Unbreakable." That translates into a powerful set of vocal chords that dominate. Guyton brings a sense of authenticity to the opening "Why Baby Why." She doesn't need to go full-blown vocally all the time, but ...