Radio entertainment and showbiz

Radio 2 programme Black and Country asks who country music is for?

Ben Earle from The Shires is to present a special programme on BBC Radio 2 celebrating the African-American involvement in country music.

It’s not only superstars from other genres like Tina Turner, Ray Charles and The Pointer Sisters who have had a close relationship with county, but the recent conversation around Beyoncé’s hit, Texas Hold Em’, has revived the debate about country music and its relationship with black artists.

Black and Country, asks who country music is for, what are the universal themes that define it, and why the contribution of black music artists is regularly questioned.

The programme looks at examples from the past where the issue of race got in the way of the music, as in the case of Linda Martell, and with Charley Pride who was RCA’s biggest selling artist after Elvis and whose talent sustained him as the genre’s only black superstar for so long.

The Mississippi country trio, Chapel Hart Band, talk about their experiences in the industry. There are also interviews with singer and broadcaster, Rissi Palmer, and songwriter and author Alice Randall – who have both dedicated their careers to showcasing black artists, and particularly black women in country music.

Bob Harris, host of Radio 2’s The Country Show, will also appear on the programme.

The date of broadcast for this programme has changed and the new date and time will be announced in due course.

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