Rissi Palmer

Apple Music Country’s Rissi Palmer, host of the “Color Me Country” show, has launched a grant fund to support BIPOC artists in country music. The fund, which takes its name from Palmer’s “Color Me Country” show, was created in partnership with fellow Apple Music Country host Kelly McCartney’s The Rainey Day Fund.

Palmer tells Country Insider she remembers a time when she had to choose between paying rent or recording a demo and hopes the fund will help struggling musicians continue their career.

“I know what those life choices are when you choose music as your journey,” Palmer says. “Even more so with artists of color, there's not always a publishing deal. There's not always a record deal when you're out there pursuing music. We're not as represented in country music. I want to make sure that nobody gives up on doing this and pursuing this because they can't afford it.”

The grant will provide artists with cash gifts up to $1,000 and can be used for whatever the artist deems necessary. Palmer has contributed to the fund herself and asks others who are willing to donate to do so directly to the fund.

“If you want to see change — especially in the country music industry — then you have to start in pretty basic places,” says Palmer, who will talk more about the fund during Sunday’s episode of “Color Me Country.” “I think that this is a very basic place because this fund is for artists that aren't signed and that are doing it on their own. What better way to keep the music going and to encourage diversity than to help artists at the very beginning at the ground floor?

“More than changing someone's entire financial situation, I think you give some hope. When you're in the throes of being a musician, sometimes that's the thing that keeps you going.”

The Color Me Country Artist Fund launches days after Charley Pride’s death. Palmer admits, “God's timing is sometimes a mystery; it's never wrong.

“I don't have any hits compared to Charley Pride and my reach is a lot shorter, but if I can do anything to help to further his legacy, that's what I want to do. And that's to create more Charley Prides and to make the way a lot easier, like the way that it should have been for him.”