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Meet Rissi Palmer, The Black Female Country Artist Spotlighting The Genre’s Diverse History

Headshot of Rissi Palmer
Chris Charles
Country music artist Rissi Palmer uses her voice and her songs to uplift diversity in the genre.

Independent country music recording artist Rissi Palmer is not surprised by the feedback she has received about her new Apple Music radio show “Color Me Country Radio,” which explores Black, Latinx and Indigenous voices in country music. She has heard everything from, “Is this a limited series? You’re going to run out of people to talk to!” to “Why does everything have to be about race?” 

As an artist formerly signed to a mainstream label, Palmer knows all about the erasure of Black artists and culture that happens on the mainstream country music scene. Since becoming an independent artist, she has been able to be more vocal about the industry’s slow pace in embracing diversity and inclusion. Host Frank Stasio spends the hour with Palmer, discussing her long musical career; early, eclectic influences; the home she has made in Durham; and her latest venture, “Color Me Country Radio.”  She will also discuss her next appearance, as part of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 5th Annual Shout & Shine Showcase, an online event slated for October 3. 


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Stacia Brown comes to WUNC from Washington, DC, where she was a producer for WAMU’s daily news radio program, 1A. She’s the creator and host of two podcasts, The Rise of Charm City and Hope Chest. Her audio projects have been featured on Scene on Radio, a podcast of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University; BBC 4’s Short Cuts; and American Public Radio’s Terrible, Thanks for Asking.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.