Jimmie Allen celebrated the life and legacy of country music icon Charley Pride on Wednesday evening (Aug. 25) with a performance on CMT Giants: Charley Pride.
The country hitmaker remembered the trailblazing country star as the “Superman of country music.”
“He unquestionably had skin made of steel to fly through all of the turbulence he had to deal with while chasing his dream, but he had a heart of gold too,” Allen shared. “He taught me to never be ashamed of who I am and to make music I love for the people that I love. Talking with Mr. Charley Pride was like sitting and talking to your grandfather. I’m just glad I got a chance to do it.”
Allen took the stage to perform “All I Have To Offer You (Is Me),” Pride’s very first No.1 single.
Allen also praised Pride’s tenacity during the show, saying, “This guy, man full of courage to just say, ‘You know what? I’m gonna sing what the world considers ‘white people music’’ in the 60’s where there was still public lynchings of black people.”
— CMT (@CMT) August 26, 2021
Allen was the last artist to share the stage with Pride when they performed together at the 2020 CMA Music Awards. He credits the country music pioneer for paving the way for artists like himself within country music.
“All my dad listened to was country music so for the longest time when I would see country music videos, I would just see a bunch of white guys and I told dad, ‘It’s great and all, but I don’t think I can ever be a country singer because of my skin color’ and he said, ‘Well let me play you some music,’” he recalled. “So, he played me a song and I was like, ‘Cool song’ but I said, ‘Ok what’s the difference between him and other country artists’ and he showed me a picture of Charley Pride and my world changed.”
He later added, “Charley Pride brought equality and diversity back into country music.”
Charley Pride passed away on December 12, 2020. He celebrated over 50 years as a recording artist and had a lasting impact on the the music community. Pride was a member of the Grand Ole Opry, a three-time GRAMMY winner, Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, a CMA and ACM award winner and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. He earned 36 No.1 singles throughout his career.
CMT Giants: Charley Pride also featured performances from Alan Jackson, Darius Rucker, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Gladys Knight, Lee Ann Womack, Luke Combs, Mickey Guyton, Wynonna Judd and Pride’s son Dion.
In addition to performances the show included interviews from family, friends and collaborators, including Neal McCoy, Nolan Ryan, Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap and Pride’s wife Rozene, who shared their personal memories while reflecting on Pride’s lasting legacy. The special also showcased rare archival photos, interviews and clips with commentary from the late Charley Pride.
The CMT special brought together Pride’s superstar friends and some of the biggest names in country music to celebrate his catalog of legendary hit songs.
CMT Giants: Charley Pride will air again for an encore performance on Sunday, August 29 at 12/11c on CMT.