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‘American Masters – Charley Pride: I’m Just Me’ Premieres TONIGHT

American Masters – Charley Pride: I’m Just Me will make its PBS network premiere TONIGHT (2/22) at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings), and begin streaming at pbs.org/americanmasters and PBS apps on Saturday, Feb. 23.

American Masters – Charley Pride: I’m Just Me traces the improbable journey of Charley Pride, from his humble beginnings as a sharecropper’s son on a cotton farm in segregated Sledge, Mississippi to his career as a Negro League baseball player and his meteoric rise as a trailblazing country music superstar. The new documentary reveals how Pride’s love for music led him from the Delta to a larger, grander world. In the 1940s, radio transcended racial barriers, making it possible for Pride to grow up listening to and emulating Grand Ole Opry stars like Ernest Tubb and Roy Acuff. The singer arrived in Nashville in 1963 while the city roiled with sit-ins and racial violence. But with boldness, perseverance and undeniable musical talent, he managed to parlay a series of fortuitous encounters with music industry insiders into a legacy of hit singles, a Recording Academy “Lifetime Achievement Award” and a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The film includes original interviews with country music royalty, including Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker and Marty Stuart. It also includes several on-camera conversations between Pride and special guests, including Rozene Pride (his wife of 61 years), Willie Nelson, and other fellow musicians. The film also features many songs from his repertoire of classic country hits, along with more modern cuts like “Standing In My Way,” from his latest album Music In My Heart, released in 2017.

“At a time when African-American singers were more notable for R&B hits, Charley Pride followed his passion for country music, overcoming obstacles through determination and raw talent to make a lasting impact on the genre and create a legacy that continues today,” said Michael Kantor, executive producer of American Masters. “We are honored to share the inspiring, and largely untold, story of this barrier-breaking performer with viewers nationwide.”

On January 30, 2019 the film made its world premiere at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The premiere featured an appearance by Charley Pride himself, along with special guest artists featured in the film, including the film’s narrator Tanya Tucker, Jimmie Allen, Janie Fricke, and Sylvia Hutton. Members of the media, and other family and friends of Pride also attended. After the film a Q&A was hosted by the film’s director Barbara Hall, and journalist Robert K. Oermann, Country Music Hall of Fame’s Peter Cooper, and Charley Pride.

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