It was recently announced that the Country Music Association will be giving Dallas resident Charley Pride a Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award soon. Pride is one of the greats of country music, so it’s no surprise that he’s receiving the same award given to Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton. We’re excited to see this Dallas artist be honored, as he definitely is deserving of it and it brings even more renown to our great city.
Charley Pride is known as “the Jackie Robinson of country music.” As a black man, he came onto the country music scene in the mid-1900s – a time when there was virtually no diversity in his genre. His music was so great that it allowed him to break into the country music scene, overcoming the difficult adversity at the time that was a person of color trying to get into an overwhelmingly white field. According to Dallas News, Pride is still the only black person to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award. He received his all the way back in 1971. In 1975, he became the first black person to host the CMA Awards1. In 2000, Pride was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame2.
Though Charley Pride’s music is no doubt his largest success, he has led a very interesting life. Born in 1934, Pride went on to become a professional baseball player in the Negro American League. During that time, he played for the Memphis Red Sox. After that, Pride was drafted into the US Army, where he was stationed in Colorado. He ended up playing for his fort’s baseball team during his service, even sending them to the Army’s baseball championship4.
Pride managed to keep working towards his country music career during this entire time, recording songs and meeting folks in the music business. Once he finally had a song take off, Pride had a short performing career before joining up and becoming the first black member of the Grand Ol Opry5. From there, Charlie Pride’s career boomed. He released several songs and performed all over, leading to where he is now.
An inspiration to others
Dallas’s Pride has been an inspiration for many current African American country music artists, including other CMA award-winning Darius Rucker – who will be just the second black person to host the upcoming CMA awards. Pride’s career of overcoming racism serves as an inspiration for anyone wanting to overcome adversity because of the color of their skin. Even though he’s released some amazing country music, Pride is equally known for his hard work to get into the scene. We look forward to watching these next Country Music Association Awards next week, and can’t wait to see the talented Charlie Pride receive his well-deserved Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement award.
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