Paramore Reject Tennessee Honor Denied To Allison Russell: “The Blatant Racism Of Our State Leadership Is Embarrassing”

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Tennessee natives Paramore and Allison Russell both won Grammys two weekends ago. Monday, the state’s House of Representatives considered ceremonial resolutions recognizing both artists’ achievements. The resolution honoring Paramore, an all-white rock band, went through, but the one honoring Russell, a Black country singer, was kicked back to committee. Democrat Justin Jones — one of two Black members of the Tennessee Three who were expelled from the House for a gun control protest last year — put forward both of the resolutions. House Republican Caucus Chair Jeremy Faison, who led the effort to expel Jones, objected to the resolution honoring Russell.

It seemed like a transparently racist attempt to elevate white artists but not Black ones, as Russell declared on Twitter/X: “That the TN GOP blocked it, I take as a compliment. Their bigotry, sadly, is on relentless display. We have a chance this year to make a real change in TN.” Paramore are also having none of it. In a statement to the Tennesseean, Hayley Williams writes:

This week, Rep. Justin Jones put forth resolutions to honor my band, Paramore and another local-to-Nashville artist, Allison Russell, on our recent Grammy wins (as far as I can tell these resolutions have no legal weight to them. They’re like a big high five or when the whole restaurant joins in to sing you “Happy Birthday”).

House Republicans only let the measure that acknowledged Paramore’s win pass. They blocked Allison’s.

For those that don’t know, Allison Russell is an incredibly talented musician and songwriter. Her music spans genres with strong ties to the Folk/Americana scenes. You might have seen her on the Grammy stage performing with the great Joni Mitchell.

Oh, she is also Black. She’s a brilliant Black woman.

The blatant racism of our state leadership is embarrassing and cruel. Myself, as well as Paramore, will continue to encourage young people to show up to vote with equality in mind.

I’d like to say thank you to Brother Jones for your steadfast commitment to your community.

And thank you to Allison Russell for using your voice and artistry to band people together, not tear them apart. CONGRATS on your incredible Grammy night.

On behalf of Paramore, Happy Black History Month.

Additionally, on their Instagram story, Paramore write, “Paramore will not accept any acknowledgement or honor from the TN House until Allison Russell is given the same recognition.”