Country music fans know that, for a lot of artists, speaking up does not come naturally. Nashville singers are frequently encouraged to stay quiet about topics deemed controversial, such as gun control or politics, so they don’t alienate fans or risk backlash. (See: Dixie Chicks, March 2003.) But the killing of George Floyd, who died May 25 in Minneapolis police custody after an officer knelt on his neck, sparked an unusually large public outpouring from country singers, labels and organizations.

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