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Charley Pride publicity contacts:
Jeremy Westby, jpw@2911.us, 833-537-2911 x800
Jason Ashcraft, jason@2911.us, 833-537-2911 x801

Charley Pride booking:
Kevin Bailey, kevin@charleypride.com, 214-350-8477

“Charley deserves every accolade he can get. And, uh, we’ll make up some new ones if we need to. He’ll deserve them too!”
– WILLIE NELSON 

There’s always been a handful of people with global appeal that goes beyond the face value of the culture of Country music.  Mr. Pride is absolutely one of those folks.”
– MARTY STUART

 “He’s one of America’s great country stars.  He is Americana personified.”
– WHOOPI GOLDBERG

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –  American Masters – Charley Pride: I’m Just Me will make its PBS network premiere on Friday, Feb. 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. 

Notable Talent In The Film:
• Charley Pride
• Garth Brooks
• Dolly Parton
• Willie Nelson
• Tanya Tucker (narrator) 
• Brad Paisley
• Darius Rucker
• Marty Stuart
• Sylvia Hutton
• Charlie Worsham
• Jimmie Allen
• Whoopi Goldberg

Buzzworthy Moments:
• Charley Pride and fellow country music superstar Willie Nelson reminisce on camera about the early days of their careers.
• Charley Pride explains how he maneuvered his way through the white ranks of country music in order to gain acceptance in the industry.
• Charley Pride and his wife Rozene speak candidly about Pride’s struggles with mental illness over the years. While on tour in Germany in 1968, the singer suffered a manic attack and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Noteworthy Facts:
• Eighteen-year-old Charley Pride made his debut in the Negro American League as a pitcher-outfielder for the Memphis Red Sox in 1952.
• Charley Pride was drafted into the army in 1956 and served 14 months in Arkansas and Colorado. While in the military, he played on the Fort Carson baseball team and sang in the barracks.
• After RCA signed him to a record deal, his third single, “Just Between You and Me,” reached the top 10 on the country music charts in 1967. The singer received his first GRAMMY® nomination, for Best Country & Western Vocal Performance, Male, for the song.
• Charley Pride first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry radio show in January, 1967. When he was inducted as an Opry member in 1993, he became the first African-American Opry member since DeFord Bailey, who had been a regular member from 1927 until 1941. Pride celebrated the 25th anniversary of his induction into the Grand Ole Opry in 2018.
• Charley Pride won Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year at the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards in 1971.
• Charley Pride committed to an extensive tour of the U.K. in 1976, including several dates in Northern Ireland during the peak of the Troubles conflict. Because of the intense political violence, international music acts were avoiding Belfast. Pride’s November 1976 appearance at Belfast’s Ritz Cinema brought the community together and he became a hero to both sides of the conflict for helping to break the informal touring ban of Northern Ireland after several other international music acts soon followed. This resulted in “Crystal Chandeliers” being considered a ‘unity song’ in Ireland and the UK when it was subsequently released as single.
• In 2000, Charley Pride was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
• The Recording Academy honored Charley Pride with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the GRAMMY® Salute to Music Legends awards ceremony and tribute concert event in 2017.

Running Time: 52 minutes

Series Overview:
Launched in 1986 on PBS, American Masters has earned 28 Emmy Awards — including ten for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 13 Peabodys, an Oscar, three GRAMMY® awards, two Producers Guild Awards, and many other honors. To further explore the lives and works of masters past and present, American Masters offers streaming video of select films, outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the American Masters Podcast, educational resources and more. The series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and also seen on the WORLD channel.

Production Credits:
American Masters – Charley Pride: I’m Just Me is a production of Corridor Group Productions Inc in association with THIRTEEN’s American Masters and ITVS. The film is directed by Barbara Hall, who is also executive producer. Co-executive producers are Greg Hall, Suzanne Kessler and Ed Lanquist. Jon Schouten is producer. Editors are Matthew Walsh and Chris Windings. Writer is Jon Schouten. Michael Kantor is American Masters series executive producer.

Underwriters:
Support for American Masters – Charley Pride: I’m Just Me is provided by Mike and Ginny Lester. Major support for American Masters is provided by AARP. Additional support is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, Ellen and James Marcus, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Judith and Burton Resnick, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, Vital Projects Fund, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, Seton Melvin, and public television viewers.

Websites/Socials: 
pbs.org/americanmasters
facebook.com/americanmasters
@PBSAmerMasters
#AmericanMastersPBS
youtube.com/AmericanMastersPBS
instagram.com/pbsamericanmasters

Be sure to follow Charley Pride on Facebook and at CharleyPride.com.

About Charley Pride:
Charley Pride is celebrating more than 50 years as a recording artist. He has enjoyed one of the most successful careers in the history of country music and is credited with helping to break color barriers by becoming the first black superstar within the genre. A true living legend, he has sold tens of millions of records worldwide with his large repertoire of hits. A three-time GRAMMY® award and Recording Academy “Lifetime Achievement Award” winner, Pride has garnered no less than 36 chart-topping country hits, including “Kiss An Angel Good Morning,” a massive #1 crossover hit that sold over a million singles and helped Pride land the Country Music Association’s “Entertainer of the Year” award in 1971 and the “Top Male Vocalist” awards of 1971 and 1972. A proud member of the Grand Ole Opry, Pride continues to perform concerts worldwide and has toured the United States, Canada, Ireland, The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand over the last several years. His latest album, Music In My Heart, was released in 2017 on Music City Records. For more information, visit CharleyPride.com.

About American Masters:
Launched in 1986 on PBS, American Masters has earned 28 Emmy Awards — including ten for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 13 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards, and many other honors. To further explore the lives and works of masters past and present, American Masters offers streaming video of select films, outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the American Masters Podcast, educational resources and more. The series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and is also seen on the WORLD channel.

About WNET:
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its new ALL ARTS multi-platform initiative, its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each month. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, and the nightly interview program Amanpour and Company. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport and WLIW Passport, station members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW and PBS programming anytime, anywhere.

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Suggested Tweet:
.@PBSAmerMasters documentary about #CharleyPride set to premiere on @PBS on Friday, Feb. 22 at 9 p.m. ET & streams at pbs.org/americanmasters on Saturday, Feb. 23