Amazon Music announced For love and country, a new feature-length documentary from Amazon Music Original that proclaims that country music has always been black music. The genre not only owes part of its origin story to black musicians, but throughout its history, prominent black voices have pushed the genre forward with little recognition or fanfare.
Directed by director and photographer Joshua Kissi, For love and country examines country music through the personal stories of a new generation of black artists claiming space in Nashville and helping to transform the genre in the process.
look For love and country trailer below. The film will be released on April 7 in the Amazon Music app and on Prime Video.
“What I realized was that country music as a genre is just as complex as this country itself,” Joshua Kissi said. “Now is the time to stand up for the voices that have always mattered through time, especially the musicians who didn’t get credit when it was due.”
“I’ve always believed in the old saying, ‘if you can see it, you can be it,'” Mickey Guyton said. “However, it’s no secret that there has been a lack of representation of black artists in mainstream country music for years. That’s why I hope little black girls growing up now can see us, artists like Brittney, Reyna, Amythyst, Allison, Valerie, Frankie and me, and know they have a place here in country music. We all do.”
For love and country is an exploration of the space between myth and reality of a genre, an industry and a city. A new generation of black artists is seeking to change the country’s long-standing identity as music by and for white audiences. As seen in today’s trailer, For love and country features interviews and performances from current Grammy-nominated Best New Artist Jimmie Allen, Grammy-nominated Blanco Brown, Amazon Music Breakthrough Artist BRELAND, award-winning songwriter and 2021 Amazon Music Artist to Watch Shy Carter, Grammy Awards Mickey Guyton, Grammy-nominee Valerie June, Grammy-nominee Amythyst Kiah, Artists to Watch 2022 for Amazon Music, Willie Jones and Reyna Roberts, Grammy-nominee Allison Russell, rising star Brittney Spencer and pianist and singer-songwriter Frankie Staton. Local Nashville residents will also be featured, including New York Times best-selling author and journalist Andrea Williams, Davidson County Criminal Court Clerk and former Vice Mayor Howard Gentry, academic and author Amanda Marie Martínez, and rapper Mike Floss.
“This film is our collective story, in our own words,” said Brittney Spencer. “We all chart our own unique paths. We all have our own dreams and challenges, and our own ways of overcoming them. I hope when people see this film they will better understand the conversation about race in country music. I hope this humanizes the issues being discussed and puts a host of beautiful black faces on a topic that audiences have heavily engaged and debated, especially over the past two years. I am happy to be part of it and to share my story.
“In telling this story, it was imperative for us to amplify the personal stories of these wonderfully diverse country artists, for within them lie the stories of black contributions to the genre,” said Raymond Roker, global editorial manager of Amazon Music. “They are also very universal stories of acceptance, of being welcomed into spaces that we choose to occupy despite how the door is opened to us, and how stories and history can become marginalized over time. The film’s title is also a reminder that these artists all come from a place of love, adoration and even reverence for country music’s past, its heroes and contributors across the spectrum.
Alongside the trailer, Amazon Music released “Black Myself,” an Amazon Original acoustic version of star Amythyst Kiah’s incredible song, recorded during filming for Amazon Music listeners only. Listen to “Black Myself” here. Additional Amazon Original songs from artists featured in the film will be released over the coming weeks, before For love and country out April 7 in the Amazon Music app and on Prime Video. For love and country was directed by Joshua Kissi and produced by DPM Projects and Pizza Night.