Jimmie Allen Calls Out BET for Not Playing His Music: ‘Last Time I Checked I Was Black’
Based on the success of his No. 1 Country Airplay chart hit "Best Shot," breakthrough artist Jimmie Allen hasn't had much trouble crashing commercial radio's glass ceiling as a black country singer. Yet per a recent Tweet, Allen's not resting on laurels: He wants the television airwaves, too, beginning with BET.
"So BET stands for Black Entertainment Television but yet they won't play my Music Vidoes [sic]," Allen writes. "Last time I checked I was black.
"People worried about 'Nashville' not letting black country artist in," he adds, "but yet BET won't let black country artist in. Nashville let me in."
To be fair, to BET has gone the way of MTV in recent years, easing out music video blocks and related programming. The network's best-known music video program of the 21st century, 106 and Park, was cancelled in 2014.
Allen has already reshaped the spotty yet rich history of African-American performers in country music -- a lineage that spans from early Grand Ole Opry star DeFord Bailey to contemporary hitmaker Kane Brown, with whom Allen toured earlier this year. First, his song "Best Shot" officially made Allen the first black country singer to notch a No. 1 at country song with a debut single; next, his run with Brown on the 2019 Live Forever Tour was the first time that two mainstream black country artists shared the same bill.
Allen has always known that country music should be his home, however. He recently recalled a time when an LA label approached him to sign a band in which Allen was a member -- but the vision they had didn't match his.
"They said, 'Alright, you can't wear your boots ever. And you can't talk about your small town.' So I was like, 'What am I supposed to do?'" Allen remembers with a laugh. "Country is the one format where I could be completely me. I could be the guy that's, yeah, I'm from a small country town, but I've had the privilege to travel, and get into different fashions, and different musical tastes. Country was kinda the one place that embraced every part of me, you know?"
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