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Paramore Calls Out ‘Blatant Racism’ After Allison Russell Snub by TN Republicans

todayFebruary 16, 2024

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Paramore Calls Out 'Blatant Racism' After Allison Russell Snub by TN Republicans

In what can only be characterized as a stunning juxtaposition between recognition and rejection, Tennessee lawmakers faced criticism this week after House Republicans objected to a resolution honoring Grammy Award-winning musician Allison Russell. The controversy began when Tennessee Rep. Justin Jones, a sitting member of the Democratic Party from Nashville, proposed ceremonial resolutions to honor the achievements of both the band Paramore and singer-songwriter Allison Russell, whose musical prowess secured her the Best American Roots Performance at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards.

Despite unanimous support for Paramore’s resolution, the commemoratory gesture for Allison Russell encountered an impasse. House Republican Caucus Chair Jeremy Faison objected to the Russell resolution, promptly removing it from the consent calendar without the opportunity for debate and sending it back to committee — a procedural maneuver often spelling the end of such items.

The discrepancy between the treatments of Paramore, a band primarily composed of white musicians, and Allison Russell, a Black folk musician who has contributed significantly to Nashville’s diverse music scene, was not lost on onlookers and participants alike. The snub occurred during a session in the house in February, a month dedicated to celebrating Black History.

Rep. Jones, in an attempt to bring attention to the issue, was cut off during the House session. He asserted the importance of recognizing individuals creating Black history in our time, but House Speaker Cameron Sexton swiftly halted his remarks before he could expand.

Russell has been candid in her criticism of Tennessee’s political climate, especially concerning anti-LGBTQ legislation and the expulsion efforts involving the Tennessee Three. Although originally from Canada, Russell has made Nashville her professional and creative hub, blending her voice and musical talents with political activism, as seen in her leading role in organizing the Love Rising benefit show, protesting Tennessee’s law against drag performances.

Upon the Republican-led sidelining of her recognition, Russell expressed gratitude to Jones and Rep. Gloria Johnson for their support and considered the GOP’s rejection a compliment, indicative of their “relentless display of bigotry.” She encouraged the possibility of progressive change in Tennessee come election time.

The response to the legislative brushing aside of Russell’s resolution was not muted. In solidarity with Russell, Paramore announced their refusal to accept any acknowledgment from the TN House until she is accorded the same honor. Hayley Williams of Paramore expressed her disdain, labeling the conduct of state leadership as “blatant racism” and promising Paramore’s commitment to pushing for equality through voter encouragement.

Elaborating on her disappointment with the situation, Williams praised Russell’s artistry and her work in melding individuals together through her music and congratulated her on the Grammy win. Conclusively, Williams, on behalf of Paramore, recognized Black History Month and the contributions of Black artists like Russell.

The event has stirred up a conversation within the state, casting a light on the current societal dynamics in Tennessee and raising questions about the intersection of art, recognition, and race in contemporary politics. As the story develops, the stance the GOP takes could have ramifications within local politics and the broader cultural context of music and representation.


Written by: HYFIN

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