Darius Rucker is speaking out.
Ahead of his Country Music Association Awards co-hosting gig, the 54-year-old musician appeared on the “Color Me Country” podcast, where he opened up about his experiences with and feelings toward racism.
“I’m not going to compromise my life and career for someone’s hatred,” Rucker said.
Darius Rucker said that he was once told audiences wouldn’t listen to a Black country musician. (Photo by John Shearer/ACMA2020/Getty Images for ACM)
Pride, 86, is “the genre’s first Black superstar,” Rucker said.
“I remember saying to myself you can put up with whatever happens here, because whatever happens to you is not gonna be one-tenth, one one-hundredth of what Charley Pride went through,” he added, referencing his entrance to the music industry in Nashville.
That’s not to say that Rucker didn’t face his own challenges, however.
“The first time I walked into [a country radio station] — nobody said they wouldn’t play it,” he continues. “What was said was, ‘I don’t think my audience will accept a Black country singer.’ Just like that. ‘I love the song. I think it’s country. Love it. I’m going to play it tomorrow, but I don’t think my audience will accept a Black country singer,'” he said in the podcast, according to People magazine.
Darius Rucker fronted Hootie & the Blowfish before transitioning to a solo career in country music. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
He continued: “I go, ‘Wow. Really? I thought music was notes and words and chords. I didn’t know music was color. I found that out today.'”
While the problem hasn’t been completely solved, the “Let Her Cry” singer said that progress is being made in the industry.
“The doors aren’t kicked open but the doors are open now,” he stated.
The CMAs will air on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.