NewsBlack History Month 2024


Grammy-nominated artist addresses race in country music industry

Rissi Palmer performs for students at Northwest Missouri State University
Rissi Palmer performs for NWMSU students
Posted at 6:34 PM, Mar 01, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Northwest Missouri State University student Alani Deluce likes to listen to country music while at her day job.

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She's new to the genre, but admits, "not because of Beyoncé , but because of my partner," Deluce said. "He’s a county, like, fan."

Alani Deluce, NWMSU student

Student Darren Ross feels the same way. He never listened to country music because he didn't grow up around it.

"You ask your family, ‘Well, why not country music?' and they’ll say, ‘Well, that’s a white person’s song’ or ‘We’re from the city.' Ross said. "I’m from St. Louis, we don’t listen to country, we’re not in the country."

Darren Ross, NWMSU student

Seeing someone like Rissi Palmer perform offers a new perspective.

The Grammy-nominated singer spoke to Northwest Missouri State University students and talked about songwriting, singing, and her journey in the music industry.

As one of the few Black country artists of this generation, Palmer wants her message to address country music and race.

"There are no other Black women on radio right now, like artists," Palmer said. "It’s not set up to support this influx of fans and artists because they haven’t already, they haven’t done the work yet."

That work, Palmer said, includes diversity behind the scenes, not just in front on the stage.

Rissi Palmer, country artist and host of radio show "Color Me Country"

"I see artists like Madeline Edwards and Brittany Spencer, and Camille Parker, and Chapel Hart," Palmer said. "They don’t have to do a lot of the things that I had to do, and what I had to go through, and that makes me happy. I’m not even mad about that. Like that, that’s progress."

Palmer hopes to be part of that progress, uplifting other Black artist's on her radio show "Color Me Country", while introducing more Black men and women to the genre.

"Stereotypes are meant to be broken," Deluce said. "We only think a certain way because that’s the way we’ve been conditioned to believe."

Ross agrees country music is a cool genre.

"This is something that you can connect to," Ross said. "It doesn’t matter what your race is."