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Mother-daughter duo shines light on the need for better representation in country music industry

ONETHEDUO
Posted at 10:38 AM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 09:02:10-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  — For the past two years, Prana Supreme and Tekitha have been edging their way into the Nashville country music scene. O.N.E The Duo is a mother-daughter country duo, and the bond that the two share has been strong from the beginning.

"I just hope we take over the world, personally," Prana Supreme said. "World domination."

"Oh, I love my daughter," Tekitha said, as they laughed and did a handshake.

Whether you call them country, folk, or Americana, they say they don't care what you label them.

"It was not an intentional decision to make country music," Tekitha said. "We made the music that was just naturally flowing out of us."

However, they do care about being welcomed and respected in a music industry that currently lacks representation of Black artists. A report released in June by Black Music Action Coalition reported that out of 19 years of programmed country radio, only 13 Black artists were represented.

"When we're going to the shows and seeing country and Americana shows and we're just kind of getting our feet wet, we weren't performing on the stages, just going, you would have four hours, five hours of performances with not one Black person in sight or in the audience for that matter," Tekitha said.

Prana Supreme says she has noticed a lot of change since she and her mother publicly launched their music in 2020, but she believes there's a structural change that's still needed in the industry.

"They're making sure to shout out more Black artists, more queer Black artists, more women, etc.," Prana Supreme said. "And that's great. But then you look at the boardroom again and it's still like predominantly older, white men."

A year ago, a first-of-its-kind country music label was founded to lift up country music artists of color. Sam Viotty is one of the co-founders.

"I'm the only Black person on a call in meetings," Viotty said. "There are no other Black managers for any of our artists."

The label is called Rosedale Collective. Viotty says they are dedicated to developing pathways for artists of color to claim their spot in the music industry.

"Country music is not this very just this very southern white populist nationalistic music," Viotty said. "It is country, there's folk, there's Americana. How do you talk about the fabric of the United States and all of the people within it? And that is what makes America, America. But I think what also makes country American is the plethora of people who are like all these different backgrounds coming and telling their stories."

Viotty says artists need to have the opportunity to get on stage and on the radio.

"What we heard label say is, well, 'We don't give the radio Black artists or artists of color because they don't want to play it,' Viotty said. "And radio says, well, 'record labels don't give us artists of color so we can't play it.' And so there's clearly something happening there where people are just saying that they won't do it because somebody else won't."

O.N.E The Duo isn't connected to Rosedale Collective, but both agree all artists, no matter how they identify, need opportunity and money to thrive. Tekitha and Prana Supreme say they'll continue to write the music they love hoping for a beautiful transformation within the country music industry and beyond.

"A whole lot of peace and a whole lot of inclusion and more compassion, more willingness to learn from one another and enjoy every culture that you know of, of the human experience," Tekitha said. "I would really hope for that."