As one of only a handful of African American artists in mainstream country, Mickey Guyton commands a unique voice in today’s industry. And with the tragedy of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis splashed on screens all across the world, she’s using that voice to speak up.
Sharing a powerful preview of a new track titled “Black Like Me” on social media Thursday (May 28), Guyton tackles a bold and rarely-addressed topic in country: systemic racism itself. With her soaring voice weary but not broken, she sings of the different experiences Americans encounter depending on their skin color, pleading for understanding as a mellow beat unfolds behind her. The Texas native did not write the song in response to Floyd’s death under a police officer’s knee, but her protest is a universal one, and she tagged the post #justiceforgeorgefloyd.
“It’s a hard life, here on easy street / Just white picket fences, as far as the eye can see / If you think we live, in the land of the free / You should try to be, black like me,” she sings in the chorus, refusing to sugarcoat her truth.
According to a feature story in The Los Angeles Times in April, Guyton plans to include the track on her upcoming debut album — which will likely feature even more insight into the inequality she’s seen. Elsewhere in “Black Like Me” she shares some of her own family’s struggle, writing “Daddy worked day and night, for an old house and a used car / Just to live that good life, it shouldn’t be twice as hard.” And the rising talent also wowed Nashville’s Country Radio Seminar with her challenging “What Are You Gonna Tell Her” in February.