A break from the usual country songs, Mickey Guyton’s “Black Like Me” touches on a more sensitive topic in our society. It’s not every day you get to hear songs about race in country music. Maybe in R&B or mainstream, but rarely in country. It led to Guyton stepping out of the shadow. She was the first Black woman in the country music scene who’s successfully made a name for herself.
Mickey Guyton’s Journey
When Mickey Guyton first signed a Nashville record deal, she has full respect for the industry. The American singer grew up in Texas listening to Dolly Parton and Whitney Houston. Soon, she worked hard to show how serious she was about making a name in the professional community. But, she faced the brutal reality of difficulty for a black woman to enter a genre that’s linked to the white.
Guyton became relentless in having to fit into the “standard.” She experienced twice the hardship for a Black person to align herself in country music. But, after many demoralizing years, the country singer created a new image for herself. She started to realize that embracing who she is making a big difference in her career.
At the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, she got nominated for a Best Country Solo Performance. And the first Black woman to make this accomplishment. The country singer said that she cannot think of any other song to make history.
Story Behind ‘Black Like Me’
Together with Fraser Churchill, Nathan Chapman, and Emma Davidson Dillon, Mickey Guyton wrote the song ‘Black Like Me’ during the George Floyd protest back on June 2, 2020. The lyrics ask listeners to check the privilege given to them. The day of its release was on Blackout Tuesday, which further fueled its message. It wants to push everyone to act against racism and inequality.
Also, the historical song reflects on the racism Guyton encountered. The singer being the only Black woman signed under a major label (Capitol Records Nashville), it’s challenging to find success. They took the song title from the 1961 book of John Howard Griffin. He chronicled his experience when he darkened his white complexion. He made himself as a Black man and discovered how a true one is.
‘Black Like Me’ is a piano ballad that echoes not only Guyton’s life, but also other Black people. She has concluded her Grammy nomination as a testament never to give up and live your truth.
You can listen to the official audio here.