For Love & Country, is a new feature-length documentary that proclaims country music has always been Black music. The genre not only owes part of its origin story to Black musicians, but through its history, prominent Black voices have pushed the genre forward with little recognition or fanfare. Directed by director and photographer Joshua Kissi, For Love & Country examines country music through the personal stories of a new generation of Black artists claiming space in Nashville—and helping to transform the genre in the process. The film debuts on April 7 in the Amazon Music app and on Prime Video.
“What I’ve come to realize is country music as a genre is just as complex as this country itself,” said Joshua Kissi. “Now is the moment to stand up for the voices that have always mattered throughout time, especially the musicians who didn’t get the credit when it was due.”
For Love & Country is an exploration of the space between myth and reality of a genre, an industry, and a city. A new crop of Black artists are seeking to change country’s long-held identity as music by-and-for white audiences.
“I’ve always believed in the old saying, ‘if you can see it, you can be it,’” said Mickey Guyton. “However, it’s no secret there has been a lack of representation of Black artists in mainstream country music for years. That’s why I hope little Black girls growing up now can see us, artists like Brittney, Reyna, Amythyst, Allison, Valerie, Frankie, and me, and know they have a place here in country music. We all do.”
For Love & Country features interviews and performances from current Best New Artist Grammy-nominee Jimmie Allen, Grammy-nominated Blanco Brown, Breakthrough Artist for Amazon Music BRELAND, award-winning songwriter and 2021 Amazon Music Artist to Watch Shy Carter, Grammy-nominee Mickey Guyton, Grammy-nominee Valerie June, Grammy-nominee Amythyst Kiah, 2022 Artists to Watch for Amazon Music, Willie Jones and Reyna Roberts, Grammy-nominee Allison Russell, rising star Brittney Spencer, and pianist and singer-songwriter Frankie Staton.
Local Nashville residents will also be featured, including journalist and New York Times bestselling author Andrea Williams, Davidson County criminal court clerk and former vice mayor Howard Gentry, academic and author Amanda Marie Martínez, and rapper Mike Floss.
“This film is our collective story, in our own words,” said Brittney Spencer. “We’re all carving our own unique paths. We’ve all got our own dreams and challenges, and our own ways of navigating them. I hope when people see this film, they better understand the conversation of race in country music. I hope it humanizes the discussed issues and puts a crowd of Black, beautiful faces to a topic the public has heavily engaged & debated, particularly over the last two years. I’m happy to be a part and share my story.”
“In telling this story, it was imperative for us to amplify the personal narratives of these wonderfully diverse country artists, because in them lie the stories of Black contributions to the genre,” said Raymond Roker, global head of editorial for Amazon Music. “These are also very universal stories of acceptance, being welcomed into spaces we choose to occupy despite how open the door is to us, and how stories and history can become marginalized over time. The title of the film is also a reminder that these artists have all come from a place of love, adoration, and even reverence for country music’s past, its heroes, and contributors across the spectrum.”
Amazon Music also released “Black Myself,” an Amazon Original acoustic version of breakout star Amythyst Kiah’s incredible song, recorded during the filming process only for Amazon Music listeners. Listen to “Black Myself” here.
The film debuts on April 7 in the Amazon Music app and on Prime Video.