Post Reports

‘You do know the banjo is an African instrument, right?!’: The black roots of country music

Emily Yahr, Valerie June and Dina Bennett talk about how black people have been largely excluded from country music -- an art form rooted in black history. And Danielle Paquette on how controversy over a black Ariel gets mermaid lore wrong.
Listen for free

About Post Reports

Post Reports is the premier daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Every weekday afternoon.

In this episode

What black history has to do with country music
People called foul when Lil Nas X’s hit “Old Town Road” was kicked off Billboard’s country chart earlier this year. It started a national discussion about who gets to be a country artist and what race has to do with it.

Valerie June is a country singer-songwriter, among many other genres. She’s also black. June and National Museum of African American Music curator Dina Bennett talk with host Martine Powers about how their experiences and the historical roots of country music are steeped in black history. Post entertainment reporter Emily Yahr connects the dots with a look at how artists like Lil Nas X are reinventing and bringing country music home.

More on this topic:

Black mermaids have been around long before ‘The Little Mermaid’
Controversy erupted last week after Disney announced Halle Bailey would play Ariel in a live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid.” But Post West Africa bureau chief Danielle Paquette says black mermaids had been around long before Hans Christian Andersen’s publication of “The Little Mermaid.” 

More on this topic:

About Post Reports

Post Reports is the premier daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Every weekday afternoon.