Black Like Me

Album: Bridges (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • Mickey Guyton wrote this gospel-tinged track with Nathan Chapman, Fraser Churchill and Emma Davidson-Dillon at a Warner Chappell song camp in March 2019. During the song, she shares her story of what it's like being an African-American woman.

    It's a hard life on easy street
    Just white painted picket fences far as you can see
    If you think we live in the land of the free
    You should try to be black like me


    The title comes from a book Guyton read in college by John Howard Griffin, a white man who deliberately darkened his skin and spent six weeks traveling through the Deep South of 1959 to see life and segregation from the other side of the color line.
  • Guyton details the discrimination she has experienced, from being told she was "different" on the children's playground to her father having to work twice as hard as non-blacks to pay for "an old house and a used car." She ends the song on a positive note.

    Oh, and some day we'll all be free
    And I'm proud to be, oh, black like me


    Guyton tweeted: "This song was a God moment. He put it on my heart to write it. I thought it was to heal my heart but now I realize it's meant to heal every heart."
  • Guyton dropped the song on June 1, 2020 amid a wave of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white policeman. At the time of its release, she was the only African-American female artist signed to a major country label.

    Guyton wrote on Instagram, "Our world is on fire right now. There is so much division and hate. I wrote this song over a year ago because I was so tired of seeing so much hate and oppression. And yet here we are in the exact same place!

    We must change that. I hope this song can give you a small glimpse into what my brothers and sisters have endured for 400+ years."
  • Mickey Guyton's three co-writers all penned the song from different perspectives. Nathan Chapman is a white Nashville native who grew up around Black people; Fraser Churchill is a white Englishman; and Emma Davidson-Dillon, also from England, is Black.

    "The fact that all of us, in a room, collectively, knew, and know, that the treatment of Black people is different says so much, and [I'm grateful] that they were able to go there with me." Guyton told The Boot. "You know, this is a very bold song to write, especially in country music. It's very, very bold, and they were very much so."

    "All of the writing came from all of us, and I don't know - it was a 'God moment' - it was a unity moment," she added. "It really just goes to show, if you really, truly do try to understand somebody else's perspective, you really can. Just, a lot of people don't try."
  • Mickey Guyton received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Solo Performance for "Black Like Me" at the 2021 awards. This made her the first ever Black female solo artist to earn a Grammy nomination in a country category.
  • Mickey Guyton made her late-night television debut when she performed this song on the February 1, 2021 episode of Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
  • Guyton sang this at the Grammy Awards in 2021, where it was nominated for Best Country Solo Performance (it lost to "When My Amy Prays" by Vince Gill).

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