Review — Mickey Guyton’s “Black Like Me”

This song is amazing, but I would be remiss if I didn’t ask: Why did her label wait until yet another instance of racist police murder to release it? Why not release this during a “normal time”? Why wait until something happens? Why did the label not try to spark the conversation whenever instead of looking like they’re being opportunistic and exploiting a situation for profit? And even if this song was just written, it still begets the question of why hasn’t Mickey Guyton been allowed to release a full album? For crying out loud it’s been five years since she released an EP, which was brilliant by the way and I still maintain that “Pretty Little Mustang” should have been a hit. Capitol Records Nashville needs to stop screwing around and forgetting about her because from the outside it appears they treat her presence on the roster as tokenism and that’s wrong. We can get angry at country radio for their bullshit, but these major labels need to be called out and held accountable too.

As for the song, it’s a strong and powerful message that everybody needs to hear: the uncomfortable reality in which African Americans find themselves in every day in this country. Constantly feeling uncomfortable, being shamed and excluded for the color of their skin is the norm for African Americans, something that Guyton clearly explains that’s always been a present issue from childhood to now. The chorus is not only catchy, but sends a loud and clear message with the white picket fence imagery and asking the listener to understand what it feels to be black like Guyton. And of course Guyton’s voice sounds brilliant as always, reminding us she has one of the most dynamic voices in country music. The song fittingly ends with a hopeful message of envisioning the day this oppression ends and how Guyton will always be proud to be black.

This is a song that should be played far and wide for all. This song could be an important moment for country music if it chooses to make it so. I honestly don’t have confidence country music (specifically radio) will do this, but I remain hopeful. And I know I will keep playing this song, as it’s undoubtedly one of the best you’ll hear in music this year.

Grade: 10/10

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