Mickey Guyton talks about facing systemic racism in country music on the latest episode of Facebook Watch‘s Face to Face with Becky G.
Guyton opened up about her personal experiences confronting racism and sexism in the country music industry as a Black woman, a rarity in the industry despite country music originating from Black musical roots. She also talked about how she’s working to change the industry to make country music available to anyone, regardless of background.
“It was extremely difficult. And not only is it difficult for a Black woman, but it’s difficult for women, period, in country music,” she said. “…Like the data is there. Women are majorly discriminated against in country music, and that is wrong.”
Guyton also talked about she and others like her were "put into these boxes, and that's where we belong."
She said she had people trying to tell her who she was as a person and performer. She also said people didn’t want to call attention to her race.
“‘And let’s not bring attention to the fact that you’re Black. Like, people already know that. So let’s not talk about that.’ Imagine someone telling you that and what that does you mentally,” she said. “You lose yourself. And I lost myself for a very long time. And that was really hard.”
She said that dealing with makeup artists who didn’t know how to do makeup for Black clients, photographers who didn’t know how to photograph Black clients, and other professionals with limited experience was “mentally debilitating” for her. It wasn’t until 2020 that she said she “got smart” and started investigating which professionals knew how to work with Black people.
Guyton said she wants to make sure that Black people are accepted in country music
“It is so important for Black people to be in this space because country music did start with Black people,” she said. “And if I can’t make it, I need to make sure that Black people are seen and heard in this industry. And I’ve made enough connections that no matter what, that’s what I’ll do, and then I found my purpose…And that includes the Latino community, the Indigenous community, and the LGBTQIA+ community.”
“[Representation] matters. We’ve kept out mouths shut for so long. It’s time for us to call it what it is,” she continued. “Step up and make this world more inclusive…I am Black and I am proud.”