Luke Bryan has been one of country music’s top singers for almost two decades.
As a result, he has seen first-hand the lack of diversity in that industry and the need for change.
Bryan recently appeared on a panel for the Television Critics Association (TCA) and reporters asked him questions about the lack of diversity in country music and the perceived lack of diversity on his hit reality show, American Idol.
Luke Bryan on diversity in country music
Bryan agreed there is a problem with systematic racism, but he said it is bigger than just country music.
“First of all, there’s racism throughout the whole country,” the singer said, via Insider. “To just sit here and single out country music as some kind of racist format is not altogether natural and true.”
However, he said he thinks there will be changes coming, in both country music and the country itself.
“I think this country learns every day about the severity of racism. And like I said, I think sometimes you have to open your eyes and understand other people’s side of the story,” Bryan said.
“I think we are going to grow, and you are going to see tremendous changes.”
He also answered questions about the recent controversy surrounding country music star Morgan Wallen and racial slurs he made.
“That’s a situation that I think country music and the industry is doing everything they can to recognize, and these things take time,” he said.
Luke Bryan on diversity on American Idol
However, when the reporters asked about the lack of diversity on American Idol, Bryan was quick to shut that down.
He said that anyone who comes to audition has the same chance as anyone else and that he, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie don’t care what someone looks like or who they are before the audition.
“We look at them with an open heart and an open mind,” Bryan said. “And do you know what? For the most part, I’m proud [that] we feel like our viewers at home are doing the exact same thing.”
“Are we ever going to bat a thousand? Never. But we d**n sure work hard to give everybody love.”
Since moving to ABC, there have been four American Idol seasons with two male winners and two females, one black and the other three white.
American Idol Season 20 premieres on Sunday, February 27, 2022, at 8/7c on ABC.