We all love to succeed at something. Technology, medical advancements and scientific discoveries all give us reason to pat each other on the back, as they should. But it seems like some things that might have seemed easier to fix have remained broken. Like racism. And just when we think that we’re making great strides to become unified as a country, we are startled to find out that things remain status quo.
Kane Brown is learning that the hard way.
According to Nashville’s “The Tennessean,” the “What Ifs” singer, who recently celebrated that song’s double-platinum and chart-topping success with duet partner Lauren Alaina, is still facing racism in Music City’s songwriting community. According to the newspaper, on Feb. 26 he tweeted, “Damn, some people in Nashville who have pub(lishing) deals won’t write with me because I’m black. Aight … I’m still gonna do my thing 100 [percent].”
The paper reports that the tweet has since been removed, but not before country music veteran Larry Gatlin, writer of classic country hits like “All the Gold in California,” reached out to the 24-year-old singer-songwriter. And he did it in the best way possible. He sang.
Sadly, for Kane, who is biracial, this isn’t the first time he has faced challenges because of his mixed descent.
Rare Country previously reported that Kane has faced harassment and hate-speak on social media due to his ethnic background. And while the singer did reply harshly to the social media haters, he also said, “This is what motivates me.”
Later in 2017, Kane appeared on “Nightline” and spoke about the judgment, stereotyping and prejudice that he faces on a daily basis as a country artist. “I feel like I’m the only mixed country artist there’s been that has tattoos,” he said. “Everybody looks at me and thinks I’m a rapper, [that] I can’t be a country artist, and it just drives me crazy.
“I don’t feel like you should have to look a certain way to sing a certain genre,” he added. “So I really just want to change stereotypes. You can’t be scared to be different.”
Although Kane may be facing racism in country music’s songwriting community, he had a great crop of writers to work with on his self-titled debut album, including Jordan Schmidt who co-wrote “What Ifs” as well as Jason Aldean’s “When the Lights Come On.” Kane also wrote with songwriters that have scored monster hits for other country artists like Tom Douglas (“I Run to You,” “The House That Built Me,” “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s), Allen Shamblin (“I Can’t Make You Love Me,” “Why,” “Where the Blacktop Ends”), Blair Daly (“Beer Money”) Troy Verges (“Breathe,” “Wasted,” “You Save Me”) and Josh Hoge (“Think of You,” “I’m Comin’ Over”), as well as Kane’s label mate and pal, Chris Young.
We sincerely hope that Kane will take Larry up on his offer of a co-write.
And we echo Darius Rucker’s comments from a 2015 interview with Larry King: “Sometime in my lifetime, I hope we won’t have to say ‘black country artist.’”