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Jimmie Allen is a reflection of a new country music world

February 27, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country singer Jimmie Allen isn’t afraid of joking about the elephant in the room — that he’s usually the only black man in the country writer’s room.

Allen is the first black artist to launch his career with a No. 1 single on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

Allen and Kane Brown, who is biracial, are succeeding in a predominantly white genre because they appeal to younger listeners who aren’t traditional country fans but are discovering country music on platforms like streaming, YouTube and social media.

Allen, who is nominated for new male artist of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards in April, says that other black artists have laid the path for him, but doors don’t just open. He has to kick them open.