Congratulations are in order for Andrea Williams. On July 24 the author was awarded an AAN Award for Best Music Writing.
In addition to releasing Baseball’s Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall of the Negro Leagues and signing on to work with LeBron James for his second children’s book, Williams has spent the past year chilling the country music industry to the bone by holding a mirror to the ugliness of the industry and naming the ills that are keeping the space straight, male, conservative and white.
Williams pulls no punches when it comes to standing up to the powers that be, landing her not only on the right side of history but at the front of the pack in terms of leadership towards a better way forward.
Williams has used her voice to call for very specific initiatives in order to galvanize the work that she and other country music pioneers such as Rissi Palmer are doing to ensure the illusion of change that we are seeing in the industry becomes more permanent. She calls for not only a more diverse spectrum of artists, but also more diversified work groups in every sector of the industry. Williams also notes that the path to equity may not lie within existing systems, but it may be necessary to build a new infrastructure with inclusion at the foundation of each endeavor; in contrast to existing systems that have been founded, enriched, and maintained by white supremacy.
Over the past twelve months as country music has undergone a performative reckoning, Williams voice has cut through the smoke and mirrors with audacious truth, an unrelenting appetite for accountability, and a clear vision for the future.
The win for Williams was made even more poignant as it fell on the same date as the first stop on the redemption tour for racial slur slinging country megastar Morgan wallen. A true “I told you so” moment for Williams, as she was one of the first voices ringing out to let it be known that the shallow consequences imposed upon Wallen were nothing more than a muzzle for anyone who dare criticize racism in an industry that has cultivated racism as a virtue. Proof that Williams has her pen on the pulse of the industry, with a clear understanding of where the pieces fall even before the glass houses shatter.
It is with gratitude, humility and a commitment to the call to action she has charged the industry with, that The Black Opry congratulates Andrea Williams on this win. Any win for Williams is a win for all of us