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Women of colour are changing the landscape of Roots music and the Grammys

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The 64th Annual Grammy Awards are set to be held on April 3 and women of colour are changing the undercurrents of the roots music, reports ‘Variety’.

The 2022 nominations include five Black women who live in Nashville or are loosely part of the community, with recognition coming for Yola Carter, Rhiannon Giddens, Valerie June and Allison Russell on the Americana side and Mickey Guyton in mainstream country.

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As per ‘Variety’, yet those performers are really just the tip of the iceberg for a phenomenally talented group of women that includes rawer, roots-based newcomers like Joy Oladokun, Amythyst Kiah and Adia Victoria and mainstream-oriented talents with a more traditional Music Row bent like Rissi Palmer, Reyna Roberts and Brittney Spencer.

What’s most heartening about this wave of talent is how completely different they are stylistically from one another, yet how committed they are to finding commonality and lifting each other up, with fewer fears that they’ll have to compete for a single media spotlight … or a lone Grammy slot.

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Yola is happy to have all that company. Before her, it was just a matter of assumption for many that Giddens – who has eight lifetime Grammy nominations and one win – was the sole Black woman out there kicking it in any kind of roots music at all. She told ‘Variety’, “I was four-times Grammy-nominated for my 2019 debut before all my friends, bar Rhiannon.”

“Yes, dark-skinned, plus-size, not Eurocentric, very African-looking me. It was like tumbleweed in these streets for a big community of melanated people to live in, but here I was determined not to be the token forever”, she added.

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Allison Russell, who scored three Grammy nominations for American roots song, American roots performance and Americana album, said, “I feel very hopeful about the way that Americana radio is growing and expanding who they play and who gets listened to. Just the fact that Valerie’s record (‘The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers’) was No. 1 for nine weeks was so thrilling to me.”

“Every week that it was, I would do a little dance. That was unprecedented at that format, and thrilling. And we’re just at the very baby-steps beginning of that, so I’m actually very hopeful for what things will look like in 10 years”, she further said.

Multi-genre artiste and white ally Brandi Carlile is thrilled about the wave of Black women represented in this year’s roots-based Grammys, “Some things are spiritual, you know? This amalgamation of spirits – the amount of Black women that are gaining recognition in American roots music right now – is a reckoning.”

“I’m watching my friends finally be platformed, seen, and written about. I’m watching my friends finally be platformed, seen, written about. We’re hearing their voices and seeing their superior architecture every day, and it’s probably one”, she concluded.

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