In the final frame of the new music video released Monday (Sept. 28) for the unifying anthem “Worldwide Beautiful,” music powerhouse Kane Brown stands on a destroyed main street with children of all nationalities standing around him. The multiracial artist with a slew of hits under his baseball cap holds his dear daughter Kingsley Rose in his arms while flowers sprout up around them in a symbolic ode to his hopes for a healing nation.
And then, he stares into the camera.
And those eyes? Well, they pierce right through you.
Heck, they always have.
Country music fans first met with those eyes back in 2014, as the tattooed kid from Georgia began making waves on Facebook. When he wasn’t stocking shelves at his local Target store, Brown would sing the legendary songs of artists like Alan Jackson and George Strait, continuing to press upload until someone started listening.
And in 2016, we did.
Shortly after millions of tech-savvy teenage girls began swooning over Brown’s deep voice and crooked smile, Nashville began to take notice. Brown signed with Sony Music Nashville and released good songs such as “Used to Love You Sober” and “Thunder in the Rain,” songs that more than deserved a spot on country radio. And then there were the deep cuts such as “Learning,” which seemed to document a childhood filled with child abuse and neglect.
When I was six years old
I kinda wet the bed
My stepdad came in and nearly beat me to death
And while Brown’s voice was powerful, his confidence was not. In his earliest interviews, the kid would speak in hushed tones. He would admit when he didn’t know what state he was playing in that night or where that state even was on a map. And yes, he tried his best to ignore the forced sincerity of the countless who were hesitant to let someone who looked like him find his way into the country music industry.
At the same time, during those early days of his early success, Brown’s most relentless supporters could see a pain behind those blue eyes, a pain that stems from the slurs and the secrets and the sneers, a pain that is so deep that it might not ever heal, a pain that country music often turned their heads away from.
And the hurt started to show.
The aspiring singer/songwriter would often strike back on Twitter to hurtful racial comments and would admit that some of country music’s biggest songwriters had no interest in writing with ‘a black kid.’
But then, the hits started coming.
And suddenly, Kane Brown could no longer be ignored.
He snagged his first number one via “What Ifs,” a song he co-wrote alongside fellow songwriters Matt McGinn and Jordan Schmidt and a song he sang alongside former high school chum and rising star herself, Lauren Alaina. Brown went on to release chart favorites such as “Heaven,” “Lose It,” and “Good as You” and took on gun violence in his song “American Bad Dream.”
Remember when ninth grade was about gettin’ laid
Skippin’ class tryin’ not to get caught
Now you gotta take a test in a bullet proof vest
Scared to death that you might get shot
In 2019, Brown collaborated with the likes of Khalid and Marchmello and continued his hit parade with “Homesick” and “Cool Again.” And while his success grew at a frantic pace, so did his confidence.
As the pandemic began taking its cruel hold on the world, Brown released and co-wrote the heartfelt anthem “Last Time I Say Sorry” alongside the legendary John Legend, and in June of 2020, Brown shared support for Black Lives Matter, writing on social media that “[It’s] ignorant as hell to kill a human being in cold blood without them doing anything … especially hand cuffed.”
“There are a lot of artists that probably don’t respect me,” Brown would tell American Songwriter in a revealing interview. “I know there are still doubters out there, but you can’t let them affect you.”
And then, the 26-year-old gave the world “Worldwide Beautiful.”
In the midst of racial turmoil and political upheaval and a pandemic that had the whole world teetering on physical and mental desperation, Brown released the powerful song he co-wrote with Shy Carter, Ryan Hurd and Jordan Schmidt, a song which directly urged anyone who was listening to seek justice and equality in a world that desperately needed to find a moment of peace.
White churches, black churches
Different people, same hearses
It’s kinda hard to fight with each other
Laying down in the ground, six under.
Indeed, it was powerful words from an increasingly powerful man who seems to have found his ultimate purpose.
You’re missing every color
If you’re only seeing black and white
Tell me how you’re gonna change your mind
If your heart’s unmovable
During a career in which Brown has had to push hard for every milestone he has ever reached, he has also done what so many before him have either ignored or downright refused to do, and that is to shine the spotlight on a slew of issues that should have been resolved a long time ago.
We ain’t that different from each other
From one to another, I look around
And see worldwide beautiful.
At this very moment and with this song and with this accompanying video, Brown officially confirms who he has always been destined to be.
And that is, a unifier.
And never before have we needed a unifier as we do right now.