Country singer Jimmie Allen likes to tell a story about the first time he met songwriter J.P. Williams, who is blind, before they came up with Allen’s No. 1 hit single “Best Shot.”
“I said, ‘I don’t know if anyone told you, but I’m Black,’” Allen said. “‘So keep the Black jokes to a minimum.’”
Allen, who made history last year for being the first Black artist to launch his career with a No. 1 single on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, isn’t afraid of joking about the elephant in the room: He’s usually the only Black man in the country song writers’ room.
He and artists like Kane Brown, 25, who is biracial, are appealing to millennial and Gen Z listeners who aren’t traditional country fans but are discovering country music in different platforms, such as streaming, YouTube and social media. That has allowed these Black artists to succeed in a predominantly White musical landscape.
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