Jimmie Allen Opens up About His Experience in Country Music: ‘It’s Not a Black or White Thing — It’s for Everyone’

When Jimmie Allen's debut single, "Best Shot," hit No. 1 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart, he became the second black country artist to reach the top spot with their debut single. Allen was preceded by Darius Rucker, who had already achieved mainstream success with his band, Hootie & the Blowfish.

Speaking backstage at the C'Ya On The Flipside benefit concert in Nashville, Allen shared that he's well-versed in the history of country music and is excited to be recognized in a genre that has historically applauded white artists, pointing to black musicians' contributions to country that began years ago.

"It feels great," the 32-year-old said. "I'm a history buff. I remember doing my research, kind of seeing when country first started. Coming from blues...the banjo coming from Africa."

"The fingerprint of black people have been all over in country music — from people like George Jones talking about who taught him how to be a musician," he added. "So, to finally have artists in the genre that look like the people what started that behind the scenes, it's a great thing to be a part of. For me, it just shows that it's not really a black or white thing. It's for everyone."

While country artists have long been exploring sounds from other genres, the artists themselves have all looked relatively similar, but Allen is helping to change that perception and introduce more inclusivity into country music as a black artist. The Delaware native noted that in today's landscape, he feels like fans can focus on him as an artist rather than the color of his skin, a step forward in country music that's long overdue.

"That's one of the first times in history where it's about being the person you are, not what you look like," he shared. "'Cause at the end of the day, like I tell people all the time, I try to look at people like kids with their presents. They could care less about the wrapping. It's not about the wrapping. If you look, they rip the wrapping off."

"It's about what's inside. What's in the present," he added. "The same thing like, who is the person? It's not about skin color. It's not about where they're from. It's about who they are as a person. So, being able to have a chance to be seen as a person in this genre has something to bring, it's an honor."

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Allen just wrapped up a run on Scotty McCreery's Seasons Change Tour, and is now the opening act on Kane Brown's Live Forever Tour. He'll also hit the road with Chris Young later this year for Young's Raised On Country Tour 2019.

Photo Credit: Getty / Jason Kempin