Country singer Darius Rucker has been one of country music's most dominating voices since his solo album debut in 2009. As the former front-man of the band Hootie and the Blowfish, he is only the second Black artist to have a no. 1 country hit since Charley Pride in 1983. However, all of this success does not mean he has not experienced racism as a Black man in country music, which he discussed in a recent radio interview.
According to Too Fab, while speaking with the Color Me Country radio show, Rucker said, "The first time I walked into [a country radio station] — nobody said they wouldn’t play it. What was said was, ‘I don’t think my audience will accept a Black country singer.’ Just like that. ‘I love the song. I think it’s country. Love it. I’m going to play it tomorrow, but I don’t think my audience will accept a Black country singer.’"
Rucker continued, "I go, ‘Wow. Really? I thought music was notes and words and chords. I didn’t know music was color. I found that out today.”
The country legend also talked about being a Black country performer.
"I wasn’t really thinking about the Black country singer thing. I wanted people to play my music for my music. If you like the song, please play it. If not, don’t. Don’t play it because I’m Black, and please don’t not play it because I’m Black."
Rucker revealed the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement has inspired him to speak out more, "I’m not a real political guy. I don’t really get into that stuff. But I just felt like it was time to say something because I was feeling different."
On Wednesday (Nov 11), Rucker will host the 54th Annual Country Music Awards with Reba McEntire. He will become the second Black person to host the event and will present Charley Pride with a Lifetime Achievement Award.