Jimmie Allen joined Charley Pride at the CMA Awards during the country legend's final performance one month before Pride's death, around two years after the two artists first met and became friends. On Sunday, Allen used Instagram to share a lengthy video in which he paid tribute to Pride, remembering the country music icon for his trailblazing career and more.
"We lost a legend," Allen said, explaining that his feelings simply couldn't fit into a caption on a post. The Delaware native recalled being around 13 years old and beginning to become interested in country music, something he shared with his dad. His dad introduced him to Charley Pride, and when Allen saw that Pride was also Black, he felt inspired to follow his own musical dreams.
View this post on Instagram
"That really showed me that it doesn't matter what people might think you can't do because of the color of your skin," he said. "There was finally someone that looked like me in every genre that I knew about."
Allen also discussed Pride's own career, noting that the late singer began his rise to stardom "at a time where there was so much public hate toward people because of the color of their skin." "It showed his courage," he said. "It showed his love and his passion for music."
Allen shared a number of stories recalling his interactions with Pride, including their first meeting and Allen's Grand Ole Opry debut. He also recalled spending his last $100 to see Pride perform during the CMA Awards two years before they met. "I had no idea that four years later I would be on stage with him at the CMAs," Allen said. "There have just been so many conversations we've had and I learned so much from him."
"He went from being a hero to a friend to someone that became like a grandfather to me," he added. "When we talked on the phone, he would tell me a bunch of different stories. Watching him talk to people for a couple minutes and then telling them when their birthday was."
"Dude was funny," Allen continued. "He would crack jokes and he would always end the conversation that we had with some sort of motivational piece that I could apply to my life."
Pride died on Dec. 12 at age 86 due to complications from COVID-19, around one month after he and Allen performed together at the CMAs, where Allen presented Pride with the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. "It was just super special to me to be able to present that award to him," Allen said. "To be on stage with a legend. The world is gonna miss him. I'm gonna miss him. His family is missing him."
"I hope through this, people that didn't know about Charley Pride and who he was or what he did, I hope they get to know him through his music, through his life," he continued. "There's just so many life lessons that you can take from his life and apply to your own. I just hope we learn that there's nothing that you can't do. Because he showed us that we can."