Darius Rucker Reveals Casually Racist Moment with Country Radio Ahead of CMA Awards

“I’m not a real political guy,” says the country star. “But I just felt like it was time to say something, because I was feeling different.”

Darius Rucker has been a staple of the country music scene for a long time now that he’ll be one of the faces of the 54th Annual CMA Awards this Wednesday night, alongside Reba McEntire.

But it’s also notable that not only is he only the second Black person to host the event, it’s been 45 years since country music legend Charley Pride hosted alongside Glen Campbell back in 1975.

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Perhaps appropriately — or at the very least interestingly — Rucker will be presenting Pride with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony. Perhaps one or both will take this opportunity to talk about the dearth of Black hosts, and lack of representation in general.

While country music has made progress in being more accepting of Black artists, it’s not been an easy road, and it’s something that Rucker has experienced first-hand as he shifted more into that musical genre.

So it’s a struggle that is as real and current, just as the Black Lives Matter movement reminded all Americans that systemic racism remains an intrinsic and tragic part of the fabric of America.

Speaking with the Color Me Country radio show on Wide Open Country, Rucker shared a story of one encounter that caught him off guard. Now, Rucker was coming to country music not as an unknown or new talent, but rather as the former front-man of what was at one time one of the biggest bands on the planet, Hootie & the Blowfish.

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“I wasn’t really thinking about the Black country singer thing,” he said. “I wanted people to play my music for my music. If you like the song, please play it. If not, don’t. Don’t play it because I’m Black, and please don’t not play it because I’m Black.”

“The first time I walked into [a country radio station] — nobody said they wouldn’t play it. What was said was, “I don’t think my audience will accept a Black country singer,'” he recalled. “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.’”

“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,'” Rucker said.

Throughout his career, Rucker hasn’t spoken much about his own experiences as a Black artist in any sphere of music, but current events, including the Black Lives Matter movement, have led him to speak out more.

“I’m not a real political guy. I don’t really get into that stuff,” he said. “But I just felt like it was time to say something, because I was feeling different.”

Daris Rucker will get the opportunity to say more, should he chose to, as host of the CMA Awards, Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, where he’ll present Charley Pride with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

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