Why the Country World Suddenly Has Rachel Berry’s Back

"We Hear You and We Love You and We're Standing With You"

In an Instagram post that quickly went viral, Rachel Berry shared her story about how much she loves country music. And as it turns out, country music loves her right back.

Berry poured her heart out on Tuesday (June 2) even though she didn’t know if anyone would take the time to read her story. She said she was going to write it anyway. Just to open up some eyes about what it’s like to be black and a country music fan.

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**not sure who will actually read this but figured I’d give my viewpoint on what’s going on in the world & hopefully open up some eyes on what goes on in the mind of a country music fan who’s in the minority* This girl loves country music and she loves going to country music concerts. However, I would be lying if I said that she has never felt uncomfortable when she’s at one. When I hear a song that moves me and makes me want to stand up (which is often if you know me), I’ve realized that I unconsciously think quickly in my head, moments before I stand up, “what if someone yells a racial slur at me?” Hearing “SIT DOWN” is very common for my friends and I but what if someone were to throw in an extra word at the end, just for me? Before you buy tickets to a show, have you ever looked up the name of the town/city and then “racism”? I have. There have been a few shows that I have had to pass on because the first 2 or 3 links that popped up were about acts of racism that have happened there. I’ve also had to plan out stops on long road trips. There’s a possibility that getting out of my car and walking into a gas station or rest stop where I’m not welcome could end badly. Festivals and fairs are also touchy. I love them. A great music lineup, being with friends, the food & drinks, the amusement rides and the games … what more could you ask for? But I have felt uneasy walking through a crowd of tailgaters and seeing Confederate flags flying high from their trucks. I find myself almost wishing I was invisible so I could walk through the crowd without being seen or noticed. I don’t say all of this for sympathy because it is what it is and everyday I’m still working on how to become comfortable in my own skin. But all I ask from not only the country music community, but every human being on this Earth, is that if you see or hear something that is wrong, speak up. Call people out on it. Don’t just ignore it, look away or laugh. Educate yourselves, your children & your families. For change to happen, we ALL have to be more vocal. We ALL have to stand together and stand up for what’s right. We all bleed red. There should be no racial divide. Period. #blackouttuesday

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“This girl loves country music and she loves going to country music concerts. However, I would be lying if I said that she has never felt uncomfortable when she’s at one. When I hear a song that moves me and makes me want to stand up (which is often if you know me), I’ve realized that I unconsciously think quickly in my head, moments before I stand up, ’What if someone yells a racial slur at me?’ Hearing ’SIT DOWN’ is very common for my friends and I but what if someone were to throw in an extra word at the end,” she said, “just for me?”

“Before you buy tickets to a show, have you ever looked up the name of the town/city and then ’racism’? I have. There have been a few shows that I have had to pass on because the first 2 or 3 links that popped up were about acts of racism that have happened there. I’ve also had to plan out stops on long road trips. There’s a possibility that getting out of my car and walking into a gas station or rest stop where I’m not welcome could end badly,” she continued.

Even fairs and fests — to so many country fans, the lifeblood they live for every summer — require some thoughtful consideration for Berry. “I love them. A great music lineup, being with friends, the food & drinks, the amusement rides and the games … what more could you ask for? But I have felt uneasy walking through a crowd of tailgaters and seeing Confederate flags flying high from their trucks. I find myself almost wishing I was invisible so I could walk through the crowd without being seen or noticed.

“I don’t say all of this for sympathy because it is what it is and everyday I’m still working on how to become comfortable in my own skin. But all I ask from not only the country music community, but every human being on this Earth, is that if you see or hear something that is wrong, speak up. Call people out on it. Don’t just ignore it, look away or laugh. Educate yourselves, your children & your families. For change to happen, we ALL have to be more vocal. We ALL have to stand together and stand up for what’s right. We all bleed red. There should be no racial divide. Period,” Berry said to end the post with the #blackouttuesday hashtag.

It wasn’t the first time Berry has shared her emotions on the topic on social media, but it might be the first time her post has caught the attention of nearly everyone in the genre.

Hundreds of comments quickly rushed in, from kind-hearted fellow country fans to the artists themselves. Like Little Big Town, who told her, “We love seeing you in the front row singing every word. We hear you and we love you and we’re standing with you.”

And Maren Morris, who said, “Thank you for sharing, babe. It’s something artists and their crews need to always keep in mind because we want everyone to be safe at our shows.”

And Tenille Townes, who promised, “I stand with you girl. Always so thankful to see you at shows!!”

And Brothers Osborne, who said, “It’s awful that you ever had to feel this way. Especially at a place where you go to enjoy life and celebrate your love for music.”

And Kassi Ashton, who told Berry, “When you’re at my show, stand up and dance baby girl. I got you.”

And Ashley McBryde, who added, “You need never feel uncomfortable in any way when you’re enjoying live music. It breaks my heart to know you’ve been made to feel that way.”

Other artists who’ve showed their support for this one fan with a big story were Russell Dickerson, Mickey Guyton, Dan + Shay, Morgane Stapleton, Lucie Silvas, Lindsay Ell, Kree Harrison, Kelleigh Bannen, Abby Anderson, Danielle Bradbery, Kalie Shorr, Olivia Lane, RaeLynn, Sarah Buxton, Joey Hyde, and Cam. More will certainly follow.

After reading and replying to the majority of the comments, Berry, who lives in New Jersey, admitted on Twitter that she now realizes there are good people in the world. (Her Twitter bio says it all: “If you need me, you can probably find me at a @littlebigtown concert.”)

“Still going through messages on Instagram and I’m honestly blown away by the response. I try to keep social media a light-hearted place but it’s been hard to do that lately,” she wrote. “But I’m realizing that there still are GOOD people in this world.

“And I’m so thankful for that.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.
@alisonbonaguro