Darius Rucker Praises Beyoncé, but Says Country Music Still Carries a “Stigma”

When Darius Rucker wrote the 1994 Hootie and the Blowfish single “Drowning,” the Confederate flag still flew over the State House in his native South Carolina. Fourteen years later, the “Wagon Wheel” singer became the first solo Black artist to top the country charts since Charley Pride in 1983.

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The country music landscape has undoubtedly changed since Rucker received death threats for writing, Tired of hearin’ this s*** ’bout heritage not hate / Time to make the world a better place. Still, the “Same Beer Different Problem” singer says the stigma lingers in some places.

Darius Rucker: “I Don’t Think It’s Ever Gonna Go Away”

Rucker wrote in a 2021 editorial for The Tennessean that country music “has this stigma of rebel flags and racism, and that’s changing.” During a recent appearance on of CNN’s “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace,” the GRAMMY winner said that negative connotation still persists today.

“It’s still around, you know… you still see it some places and I don’t think that’s ever going to go away,” Rucker said.

He added, “It’s not as prevalent as it was. It’s not the majority of country music, but it’s still there.”

When pressed further, Rucker said, “It’s still there because it’s still in America. It’s still part of America… so yeah, pretty sure it’s still there.”

Beyoncé Is Making Country Music “Look More Like America,” Rucker Says

In February, Beyoncé dropped her first full-length country album, Act II: Cowboy Carter. The “Texas Hold ‘Em” singer’s country debut was every bit as groundbreaking as you’d expect. With it, Queen Bey became the first Black woman to top the Billboard country albums chart.

Unfortunately, with accolades also came backlash. That pushback was all too familiar to Darius Rucker. When the Hootie and the Blowfish frontman struck out for Nashville, many radio stations bluntly told him “they didn’t think it was going to work because I was African American.”

[RELATED: Darius Rucker Weighs in on Beyonce’s Foray into Country Music]

“[W]hen I started making country music and having hits, I have African-American women and men come up to me go, ‘I love country music. I just could never say until now you’re playing and I can say it,’” Rucker told Chris Wallace.

Of Beyoncé, he said, “And she brought I think even more eyes to the to the genre and more people looking at it. And more Black people going ‘All right man, I like country music.’ I always say I want country music to look more like America and I think she did a lot to make it go that way.”

Featured image by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

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