Mickey Guyton Releases Powerful Single “Black Like Me” as Country Musicians Take Stand Against Racism

Photo Credit: Chelsea Thompson, courtesy of Capitol Records

The murder of George Floyd at the hands of a former Minneapolis police officer has sparked protests across the world calling for justice for Floyd and the end to systemic racism in America. Some of those voices are coming out of Nashville, from a genre of music that has largely remained quiet on issues related to justice and politics in the past. Kane Brown, Darius Rucker, Jimmie Allen, Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett are among the many artists who have spoken out against Floyd’s inhumane death, with reactions ranging from honest reflections on living in a racist society as a black person to steadfast support for the black community.

Perhaps one of the most profound statements has come from Mickey Guyton, who tells the world how it feels to be a black woman in America on her powerful new song, “Black Like Me.” As one of the few Black women working in mainstream country music, Guyton has long been outspoken about the obstacles she’s faced trying to have a voice in a genre dominated by white males. “Black Like Me” cuts through the noise to share an honest and important perspective about what it’s like to live in her skin. Guyton explained in an Instagram post that she co-wrote the song in 2019 with Nathan Chapman, Emma DD and Fraser Churchill as a response to the “hate” and “oppression” she was witnessing in the world. Across three minutes and 31 seconds, Guyton takes the listener inside her journey as a child on the playground where she was told for the first time that she was “different,” later watching her father work twice as hard to buy a home to raise his family in. But the chorus is where she delivers a truly gut-punching declaration:

“It’s a hard life on easy street/Just white painted picket fences far as you can see/And if you think we live in the land of the free/You should try to be/Black like me/Oh, and some day we’ll all be free/And I’m proud to be, oh, Black like me.”

“Our world is on fire right now. There is so much division and hate. I wrote this song over a year ago because I was so tired of seeing so much hate and oppression. And yet here we are in the exact same place!” Guyton explains in the post debuting the song. “We must change that. I hope this song can give you a small glimpse into what my brothers and sisters have endured for 400+ years.” While she continues to serve as a passionate advocate for racial justice, she is also calling on her country music peers to do the same, many of whom have answered the call.

Darius Rucker also expressed his viewpoint on how it feels to live as a Black American. In a vulnerable, three-page statement, Rucker shared the “raw feeling of pain” he experienced watching the video of Floyd’s murder.

“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,” he begins. “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.” As a father of three children, Rucker explained the “anguish” and “anger” they’ve felt in the aftermath of Floyd’s murder, urging for people to unify in order to bring about change. “The only way it will ever change is if we can change people’s hearts,” he encourages. “I really hope that we get better as a nation. 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.”

Like Rucker, “Best Shot” singer Jimmie Allen is the father of a six-year-old Black son and welcomed a daughter with his fiancée Alexis Gale in March. Allen expressed deep sorrow and concern for his son’s future growing up in a racist culture, also calling for people to use love as a guiding force for systemic change. “The continued non value of life towards black men in America concerns me. As a black man and a father raising a black boy I’m worried. The uncertainty of his safety turns my stomach,” he confessed in a recent Instagram post. “I challenge everyone to love each other and let our hearts speak louder than the injustice. Love so hard that it suffocates the hate.”

Kane Brown echoed this sentiment, calling on people of all backgrounds to unite in order to achieve world peace. “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 one to be at peace,” he explains in a Twitter post.

While Black country artists made it a point to speak out, many white allies also raised their voices in support. Two of the most profound statements came from Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren Akins, the parents of four-year-old daughter Willa Gray, who they adopted from Uganda in 2017. Both spoke honestly about it’s like to be white parents of a Black daughter, pledging their unconditional support not only to their child, but the Black community as a whole. In a open-hearted message shared on Instagram, Rhett reveals that while their blended family has been mostly met with unconditional love, they have dealt with racism “directly,” previously instilling him with a fear that stopped him from making a public statement. He also notes the fear that his Black crew members have felt while touring on the road with him, behavior he deems “unacceptable.”

“When I witnessed the horrific murder of George and think about the mistreatment of other black men and women in America, I am heartbroken and angry. I get scared when I think about my daughters and what kind of world they will be growing up in and how my JOB as a father is to show them how to lead with love in the face of hate. To know their worth and value as not only women but human beings,” he explains. “So if there is any question on where I stand let me be clear – I stand with you, I stand with George and his family and all those who have faced racism. I stand with my wife and my daughters. We will be fighting this fight for the rest of our lives. Rest In Peace, George. We are not letting this go.”

Akins also spoke about her role as a parent to their multi-race children, stating that in the past she has been shamed by people who believe she is unqualified to be the mother of a Black daughter, creating a sense of “anxiety” that has led her to not speak out publicly – until now. “But as her mother, I want her to be VERY sure that I am HER mother who stands up not only for her, but for every single person who shares her beautiful brown skin. I want to be her mother who raises her to know what it means to have brown skin and to be proud of it,” she pledges. “I believe if I stay silent I am betraying my brothers and sisters. I believe if I stay silent I am betraying my daughter… Together, let’s be an army for love. That means speaking up loudly for injustices whether or not we share the same skin color, language, beliefs… I want my children to cling to the good. Love, peace, kindness, joy. I want them to BE the good.”

For a genre that has historically been remiss in standing up for justice, it offers a glimmer of hope to see many country artists use their voices to take a firm stance in opposition to racism, asserting that Black Lives Matter. My hope is that the country community will continue to fight for equality and turn these words into action, adding to the ocean of voices that are rising to end systemic racism and change this world for the better.







The Bay, Black Lives Matter, and Bandcamp: Local Resources and Ways to Help


Hey Bay Area,

It’s been a rough week. It’s also been, hopefully, a first step in a greater reckoning regarding racial justice, discrimination, and police brutality in America. Black people are suffering even as they are mobilizing, speaking out despite years of attempted silencing, and working their way through each day, the best that they can.

The Bay Area, as always, will play a crucial role in the future of this movement. As much as the Bay celebrates a rich history of political activism, Black music, and Black culture, on the other side of that coin is a painful history of white supremacy and violence against Black bodies.

There are many different ways to contribute to this movement, and a myriad of resources to help you do so. There is no such thing as a definitive list, but here are some local resources to help you get started (or continue) your support.

Support Black artists with Bandcamp

Bandcamp is, once again, waiving its share of sales on June 5th to help artists impacted by COVID-19. Support local Black artists buy buying their music and merch. Also, a lot of artists and labels are preparing special releases for the 5th, with the proceeds going to organizations supporting racial justice. Bandcamp has compiled a list of those here. Also, there’s a big chance a lot of your favorite bands are donating their proceeds from the day. Check their socials for confirmation, and get yourself a t-shirt.

Want to spread the word about your favorite Black Bay Area musicians? Make a playlist of Bandcamp bops using this cool website. There are currently a lot of playlists featuring exclusively Black Bandcamp artists on there if you are on the hunt for new music. Unfortunately, the website does not currently have a native search function, so keep an eye on the “Newly featured” section.

Finally, mark your calendars: on June 19th, and every June 19th hereafter, Bandcamp is donating all of their cut to the NAACP legal defense fund.

Here are some cool local musicians to support June 5th,  June 19th, and every day:

Fantastic Negrito

Oakland native Fantastic Negrito makes funky, soul-influenced rock. His upcoming album title asks the same question we’ve all been asking ourselves every day since quarantine started: Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?

Wizard Apprentice

With a delicate voice layered over stripped-down, variant techno beats, Wizard Apprentice makes intimate music about universally difficult subjects.

Tia Nomore

“i just record when i can and write all the time,” states Tia Nomore’s descriptor, a sentiment which can’t fully encapsulate the self-assuredness of her straightforward raps with a 2000’s throwback vibe.

Kidd AM

Kidd AM is a recent Bay resident, but her commitment to examining the ways that her hometown of Clinton, Louisiana has shaped her musical style can be appreciated by anyone who knows what its like to love, hate, and everything-in-between the complex and brilliant Bay area.


Despite a period of musical silence, SF rapper A-1 is has been slowly moving back into releasing new work, including this excellent single he started working on after the murder of Philando Castile in 2016, but didn’t make public — until now.

Support local organizations working towards racial justice & rebuilding

Check out these organizations working to dismantle oppressive power structures, empower their communities, and spread education and awareness.

Anti-Police Terror Project — Community support, legal referral, police reform/eradication

Bay Area Anti-Repression Committee — education, bail funds

Black Earth Farms — food distribution, food education

Masterdoc of Oakland business who are requesting support — various needs

NLG – Bay Area Chapter — legal defense and support for protesters

People’s Breakfast Oakland — homeless support, food distribution, bail funds

People’s Community Medics — free basic first-aid workshops

Internal work, external change

People who are not Black have a responsibility to their communities — and to themselves — to work towards dismantling white supremacy. There are so many different ways to do this. Work to find the best way for yourself.

Black Lives Matter. Stay safe, and take care of yourselves.