The issue of sexism in country music came to national attention in a recent episode of Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, with correspondents Sasheer Zamata and Amy Hoggart on their way to Nashville to speak with some of the artists and industry members who were in charge of equality at country radio.
Using the distinctive mix of comedy and investigative journalism, the segment delves into why female artists have to fight for the same radio broadcast, with CMT director and founder of Next Women of Country Leslie Fram serving as a guide to the recent history of “TomatoGate” and the ever-decreasing presence of women’s voices on country radio.
Zamata and Hoggart report to artists like Brandi Carlile, Tanya Tucker and Margo Price (who also performed her new song ‘Stone Me’ on Full Frontal in a different segment of the show).
“Ask yourself this question:” What do you want your daughter to know about herself? “” Carlile said. “And if you can’t get that from country music, if you can’t get that from country radio, it’s a problem.”
As an artist who has been in country music for decades, Tucker reflected on the past of the genre and the difficult struggle that has brought female artists to where they are today. “When I was just starting out, they wouldn’t have another woman in a show. There would be one woman and three boys,” she explained. “… The women in country music, they’ve had a hard line to hoe.”
In the meantime, correspondents also talked to Mickey Guyton about the additional obstacles that black artists, male and female, encounter in country music. “Black people love country music, and there are so many people who are like me who love country music. And that’s what I’m doing here. We’re really just making our own way,” said Guyton.
While the slogans that the correspondents and artists came up with may need some workshopping – “Save a koozie, play a cowgirl”? Could be. “Twang is up”? Not quite. “T-t’s up”? Absolutely not – the message could not come at a more important time. On the same day the episode was broadcast, country stars like Kacey Musgraves and Kelsea Ballerini weighed the same song in a viral tweet, in a discussion about the rarity of national radio stations that two female artists play back to back.
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