Singer and songwriter Rissi Palmer and journalist and radio host Kelly McCartney, two passionate supporters of marginalized artists in country and roots music, have come together to establish the Color Me Country Artist Fund. The newly created fund offers another source of sustainability for Black artists, Indigenous artists and other artists of color within the country music community.
McCartney’s two-year-old Rainey Day Fund (named for “Mother of the Blues” Ma Rainey) assists BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and disabled artists, as well as those who “add to the rich fabric of roots music.” Similarly, the Color Me Country Artist Fund will aid Black, Indigenous and Latinx acts in country music, and help bring to light the histories of artists of color within the genre.
“I know what it’s like to have to choose between eating and paying rent. To work a 9-to-5, then pull an all-nighter in the studio to get closer to the dream of being a self-sustaining musician. Any success I have achieved has been because of the kindness of others and their belief in me, and I want to pay it forward,” Palmer explains. “I don’t want anyone’s dreams deferred because of financial hardships.”
Adds McCartney, “Seeing the work that Rissi was doing in the country music space, it just made sense to create a specific Color Me Country program to support the artists on those fringes as well. Together, we’re being the change we wish to see in the music world.”
One-hundred percent of the money in the Color Me Country Artist Fund will go to artists in need. Donations are now being accepted.
In addition to its seed funding, the Rainey Day Fund has also received a donation from Brandi Carlile’s Looking Out Foundation, both of which led to grants that benefitted artists including Yola, Birds of Chicago, Tré Burt, Joy Oladokun, Brittney Spencer, Jontavious Willis and others. Moreover, donations have allowed for the creation of an Indigenous Music Scholarship with Folk Alliance International.
McCartney and Palmer are both Apple Music broadcasters. The former is a well-regarded roots music expert, as her weekly Southern Craft Radio program highlights. As for the latter, Palmer’s Color Me Country radio show blends her lineage as one of very few Billboard-charting Black country stars and highlights the legacy and future of minority performers in country music.
A Brief History of Black Country Music, From Tee Tot to Breland: