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These Black Women In Country Music Are Giving Us What We All Need

We all love that Beyoncé's recent foray into country music has turned the world's attention back to the impact of Black legends and icons who were foremothers of the genre. All of the buzz around the superstar's take on country music (along with the fab TikToks of Black women getting their country glam on to prep for a possible country music tour), brings to the forefront stories of the amazing impact of women like Sister Rosetta Thorpe, Elizabeth Cotton, and Linda Martell. These women laid the groundwork for folk, country, and rock music way before any of us reached our mother's wombs.


I've loved country music since childhood and would rock, sway, and sing along to songs by The Neville Brothers, Patsy Cline, and Elvis. (Yep, I loved me some Elvis, honey. It was an admiration I inherited from my mom.). Back in the day, my friends and I would all enjoy the country music songs played at a popular hangout spot, the local skating rink. The DJ would go from 69 Boys, Brandy, and Usher to Billy Ray Cyrus ("Achy Breaky Heart), Dolly Parton ("9-to-5" and "I Will Always Love You,") and Shania Twain ("Man! I Feel Like A Woman.") Country music has always been part of my life's soundtrack.

Since it's Women's History Month, what a perfect time to highlight some of the other Black women who have been standing it the gap for years, doing this country music thing, and doing it well. Here are a few to add to your playlists this month and beyond.

The Boykin Sisters AKA The BoykinZ

Sisters Nylan, Nytere, Anale, and Alona took the country music world by storm on TikTok, drawing more than 480,000 followers and 10 million likes for their soulful country music swag. They've performed with Shania Twain on the Country Music Awards, appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show, and have recorded with legendary country music producer Nathan Chapman. Each brings their own unique flavor to the group, from style to music abilities.

Rissi Palmer

She released her self-titled debut album with hit singles, “Country Girl,” “Hold On To Me,” and “No Air,” and has since performed at The White House, New York's Lincoln Center, and the Grand Ole Opry. She’s also shared stages with country and pop music heavy-hitters including The Eagles, Charley Crockett, and Taylor Swift. Taking things to the advocacy level, she launched her own radio show Color Me Country with Rissi Palmer on Apple Music Country and created the Color Me Country Artist Grant Fund to support newbie country artists of color to reach their entertainment industry dreams.

C Brandon / Contributor/Getty Images

Yola

A U.K.-bred country music artist, this singer and actress was nominated for multiple Grammys for her 2019 debut album, Walk Through Fire, including Best Americana Album. Her 2021 album, Stand For Myself, mixes country and soul with intriguing and relatable visuals. She also magnificently starred as Rosetta Thorpe in the 2023 Elvis biopic, a film whose soundtrack was an American Music Award winner.

Mickey Guyton

A modern-day pioneer in her own right, Mickey Guyton was the first Black woman to be nominated in the Best Country Solo Performance category at the Grammy Awards in 2021, and, that same year, she became the first Black woman to co-host the Academy of Country Music Awards. Her song, “Black Like Me,” released in the wake of the George Floyd protests and the Black Lives Matter movement, added more to her legacy of being a leader and advocate in country music.

​Brittney Spencer

This newbie artist in the game has given us strong previews of her talent, releasing two EPs and receiving Country Music Awards and Country Music Television award nominations. Elektra signed her to a deal in 2022, and this year, she released her debut album, My Stupid Life, which has been described by one Rolling Stone reviewer as “one of the most convincing country statements in a while.”

Reyna Roberts

The self-proclaimed "Princess of Outlaw Country," is serving soul, sass, and style with her music, with a debut album titled, Bad Girl Bible, Volume 1, sparking intrigue and fan support. Her more than 300,000 followers on IG rally behind her, as she campaigns for big-ticket performances that we are sure, will be in her future.

Chapel Hart

Sisters Danica and Devynn Hart have joined musical forces with cousin Trea Swindle as a country music trio, and found early viral success performing on “America’s Got Talent.” In 2021 the group was inducted into Country Music Television’s “Next Women of Country,” and they’ve been honored as “International Group of the Year” as well as “International Song of the Year” for the single “You Can Have Him Jolene” in Scotland. They have been nominated for several British CMAs including “Group of the Year” and “Album of the Year” for their second album release The Girls Are Back In Town.

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Featured image by Emma McIntyre / Staff/Getty Images

 

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