To be part of a movement that could change many artists lives is truly an honor. I was able to share my story with Nashville Music Equality (NME) on February 24th, 2021, and become part of a conversation to help recognize the issues of diversity. Our stories began with having the door cracked to country music, but never left wide open so we could step inside. As the development of the Black Country Music Association (BCMA) grew, we were able to connect with those with similar stories, which later developed into a support group and since then has transformed into a family. 

When NME invited me to speak as a Black Country Music Artist and member of the BCMA to get our stories heard and recognized, I was honored to share my story as well as be part of the conversation with Dr. Cleve Francis and Frankie Staton. NME is a community that is committed to creating an anti-racist environment in Nashville’s music industry. I believe change will come through conversations such as the one I was able to be a part of, educating others on diversity issues, creating a mentorship, and helping gain resources for those in the music community. The NME is devoted to minimizing the equality gap.

Dr. Cleve Francis, Frankie Staton, and I’s journeys to Nashville were very different. However, our paths all ended up with the same conclusions. With little or no support from major record labels we had signed with, no marketing strategies, no development, no financial backing, and no air play, the odds were stacked against us. When all odds turned against us, we turned to one another.

Dr. Cleve Francis became an activist shortly after receiving very little support in Nashville. He then formed the Black Country Music Association. This was a way of educating people with a passion and natural talent that should be recognized. After Dr. Francis left Nashville, Frankie Staton, co-founder of the BCMA, continued in this endeavor. Staton knew that she wanted to get involved after waiting for numerous jam sessions and having to wait it out just to get an opportunity, she designed a Black Country Music Showcase. The showcase was open to Country Artists of color who wanted an opportunity to perform the music that they love, but it was only for a moment. When my career came to a standstill and I was uncertain of my next steps, I then met Frankie who led me to opportunities I never had before, even with a major record label. With the power of equality, I believe future generations of Black Country Artists will increase as well as the audience.

The season is now to move upon the powerful words of Frankie Staton, “Be the change you want to see.” If we can walk this journey together, we can find a place of equality for the love and passion of country music. Let us continue to work together on educating people on these issues, giving one another support, and choosing to be kind. I am grateful for the task forces to help discuss the issues we have all faced in our music careers.

The Black Country Music Association may have come to a close, but we are all still artists and there are still opportunities out there if we support each other. If you are looking to learn more about equality in Nashville music, please check out Nashville Music Equality and join the conversation! 


Listen to my latest singles on the Music Page and see our Videos as well on Youtube!  Thank you for making my dreams possible.  Valierie!

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