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Country artists address racial issues in wake of Floyd killing

Monday, June 1, 2020 – Country artists, ranging from Darius Tucker to Thomas Rhett, weighed in, expressing their XX at the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis one week ago.

After a weekend in which protests around the U.S. resulted in violence and at least one death, country musicians took to social media to express their outrage at Floyd's death in which a Minneapolis policeman was charged with third degree murder as well as the need for the country to combat racism.

As a result, many record companies and others in the music industry are closing their doors on Tuesday as part of "Blackout Tuesday" to deal with the Floyd killing and racism in the U.S.

Rucker, one of the leading African-American country singers, said, ""2020 has already been heartbreaking. Now, here we are having to again face the truth of racism and the pain and frustration of the African American community," he wrote. "As an American, a father, a son, a brother, a singer, a man... I have faced racism my whole life, from kindergarten to the life I live today. Racism is not a born thing; it is a taught thing. It is not a strong belief; it is a weak belief. It is not a financial issue; it is a hatred issue."

"Over the course of my life, I guess I had just put it down to 'that's just the way it is.' No, I know I had," he continued. "It is no longer alright for me to perpetuate the myth that things are okay. I have kids whom I love and cherish, and to watch them go through this, to feel their anguish and anger trying to deal with this is heartbreaking for me. The question that keeps coming up is 'will it ever change?' And my answer now has to be 'YES.'"

The country singer went on to outwardly support protesters. "We have to come together somehow, y'all. The only way it will ever change is if we can change people's hearts. I don't know how we are going to make that happen, but I am ready to try everything we have to do, because we need to do better."

"I really hope that we get better as a nation," he said. "My request to you guys is to search your heart on behalf of all of us, and root out any fear, hate or division you have inside of you. We need to come together."

Lauren Akins, Thomas' wife, posted on Twitter, that she had been "nervous" to speak out "because of how some people believe that I as a white mother am undeserving or incapable of raising a black daughter."

They adopted their oldest daughter from an orphanage in Uganda in 2017.

"I am HER mother who stands up not only for her, but for every single person who shares her beautiful brown skin," she said.

""I want to be her mother who raises her to know what it means to have brown skin and to be proud of it," Akins wrote on social media. "I want to be her mother who doesn't listen to the shaming of skin colors but instead listens to the Spirit of God who knitted every skin color together in their mother's womb for His glory."

Kane Brown, who is of mixed race, took to social media with a number of tweets on Monday, "We will never see peace in this world until we ALL see each other as PEOPLE. We will never understand each other when you have people on 2 different sides. We have to become 1 to be at peace."

Brown also responded to several tweets directed towards him including one who apparently advocated sending blacks back to Africa.

"I honestly think it's ignorant as hell to killa human being in cold blood without them doing anything especially handcuffed. I think it's stupid a man can't jog without being gunned down...#BLACKLIVESMATTER We are people too. Like I said before, we all needs to become one race (Americans) stop dividing, or it will never be solved!"

Garth Brooks said at his weekly Facebook Studio G broadcast, "It's about love. It's about trusting us individuals." During the broadcast, Brooks responded to tweets from fans seeking better times. "As wild as these times...there are people like you that love one another."

Brooks adopted an optimistic tone. "Just believe that the person next to you is a good person," he said.

Dan + Shay posted on Twitter, "We, as humans, MUST come together to make a change. Racism and discrimination because of someone's skin color simply just WRONG. Politics and all other bullshit aside, we all have a giant responsibility to eliminate this issue, which has plagued our country for far too long."

Lady Antebellum tweeted, "We can't speak to how it feels to be the target of racism in America, but we can see the pain, the suffering & the toll it continues to take. Our hope is that we all take the time to listen, educate ourselves, have difficult conversations and make changes through our own actions."

Maren Morris tweeted several times in recent days. "Watching someone die on a twitter feed is extremely traumatizing, but nothing compared to what happened to this man and his family. This has to end." She also had a separate post of her song "Dear Hate," which she recorded with Vince Gill.

Americana artist Brandi Carlile tweeted on Sunday, "Let's not ignore the elephant in the room. Silence is violence. #blacklivesmatter"

More news for Darius Rucker

CD reviews for Darius Rucker

When Was the Last Time CD review - When Was the Last Time
Darius Rucker is so darn likeable, he likely gets away with creating subpar music more than most. However, "When Was the Last Time" is a consistently good album, which is as respectable as it is likeable. Rucker knows how to sing crowd pleasers, like the fun and funny "Count the Beers" and the all-star collaboration "Straight to Hell," which also features Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Charles Kelley. He shines brightest, though, on the more serious songs. »»»
Southern Style CD review - Southern Style
Although opener "Homegrown Honey" has a few hip-hip sonic elements fueling it, "Southern Style" is a fairly traditional - well, as traditional as Darius Rucker can get - album. "Homegrown Honey," along with the title cut and "Half Full Dixie Cup," make a play for Rucker's Southern credentials, and for the most part support these claims. Rucker is an easygoing vocalist, and this latest effort goes down smoothly. It's still taboo for country »»»
Home for the Holidays CD review - Home for the Holidays
When it came time for Darius Rucker to throw his hat into the holiday album ring, he was clearly aiming for the old school, traditional realm of such things. The heavy orchestration for these 12 songs hearkens back to the days when crooners like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra tracked Christmas projects, rather than anything that might pass for country. With that said, though, Rucker represents himself quite well with this traditional album of (mostly) familiar Christmas songs. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: The Lil Smokies provide the perfect antidote – On a night when the world to be falling further apart thanks to coronavirus (this would be the night the NBA postponed the season), there stood The Lil Smokies to at least in some small measure save the day. The quintet is part of a generation of musicians with bluegrass as the basis, but not totally the sum of the music either.... »»»
Concert Review: White makes the case for himself, no matter how dark the music – John Paul White opined with a glint in his eyes that his songs were not of the uplifting variety. In fact, they were downright dark. How else to explain "The Long Way" with the line "long way home back to you." Or "James," a song inspired by his grandfather who suffered from dementia. But lest you think that the Alabama... »»»
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