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Local Spotlight: The Black Opry Residency is changing the face of Americana music

Black Opry Revue performs at the 2022 XPoNential Music Festival.
Black Opry Revue performs at the 2022 XPoNential Music Festival.

Americana music encompasses country, bluegrass, folk, and blues and has deep roots in Black musical traditions.

As the sonic influences of southern Blacks gained international popularity in the early 20th century, the genre became increasingly whitewashed.

But long before Lil Nas X pushed the boundaries of what constitutes country music, Black musicians across Americana were reclaiming space in the genre.

Many of those musicians found celebration and support in the Black Opry, a collective of Black artists that perform Americana music, founded online by Holly G in Nashville.

This year, the Black Opry partnered up with WXPN to launch the Black Opry Residency, a weeklong program that provides resources and support for unsigned Black Americana musicians.

We explore how and why the residency program came to be and what it means for the future of Black Americana musicians.

This is a part of our series called “Local Spotlight,” where we’ll cover local stories that deserve national attention. Have a suggestion about what we should feature? You know where to find us.

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Lauren Hamilton