Via a just-launched GoFundMe campaign, an iconic — yet still, a half-century later, little known — Black female country star could finally see her proud yet cautionary tale see the light of day.
2020’s push for greater awareness and motivation towards increased visibility and reparational equality being given to African-American artists in country music resurfaced the story of Linda Martell, who, in 1969, became the first Black female artist to crack the Top 20 of Billboard’s Country charts. Her cover of The Winstons’ “Color Him Father” provided the groundbreaking foundation for artists including Rissi Palmer, Mickey Guyton, and in looking at CMT’s Next Women of Country for 2021, Brittney Spencer, Chapel Hart, Reyna Roberts, and Sacha Visagie, too.
Fundraiser organizer Marquia Thompson notes the following:
“Linda, also known as Ms. Thelma by those who know her, is my grandmother. My family and I are working on a documentary film on Linda Martell, the artist, her experience as a Black woman singing Country music, an almost completely white space at the time of her debut, a time where people who looked like her were fighting for the right to simply sit down to eat at a restaurant to enjoy a meal. A documentary that gives a closer look into who she was/is outside of Country music, a more honest take on why she was overlooked during her short-lived career, and the likely reasons for the sudden influx of attention she’s received in the past 3-4 years.”
Thompson is looking to raise $20,000 “over the next 6 – 9 months” to aid in the documentary’s completion. She adds that “many interviews [are] scheduled throughout the summer” for the proposed feature.
Donations are being accepted for what would be a timely and essential documentary by clicking here.