Rissi Palmer will play the Grand Ole Opry for the first time in more than a decade. The country singer and host of Apple Music Country’s Color Me Country radio returns on March 19, with a renewed sense of the venue’s importance.
Palmer — who charted three songs on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart in 2007 and 2008 — was in her mid-20s when she made her Opry debut in 2007. A press release notes that after her first appearance, she played several shows at the esteemed venue in 2008 before moving to North Carolina.
She was the first Black female to chart on country airplay charts in nearly 20 years, and she has since recounted how the industry marginalized her — even questioning her commitment to country music because of her skin color. The Color Me Country radio show strives to shine a spotlight on artists who have been marginalized. Cam, Maren Morris, Brittney Spencer and journalist Andrea Williams have been guests. It airs every other Sunday for subscribers, at 4PM ET.
Tenille Arts and Charlie Worsham are two of the other artists scheduled for the March 19 Opry show. Earlier in the day, Palmer will tour the Country Music Hall of Fame’s “American Currents: State of the Music” exhibit, an annual that documents significant developments in the genre. She is recognized in the exhibit, something she calls an honor and a shock.
Thus far, 2021 has brought a number of firsts with regards to race in country music: Kane Brown played the Opry for the first time ever during an NBC special in February, and a Black female (Mickey Guyton) will host the ACMs for the first time ever this spring. The 2021 ACM Awards nominees also feature four Black artists in major categories for the first time.
38 Country Songs Every True Fan Needs to Have Memorized: