In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Louisiana country singer Willie Jones is releasing his poignant new song “American Dream,” recorded during the midst of Black Lives Matter protests this past summer.
“Proud to be a black man/Living in the land of the brave and the free,” Jones sings during the song’s chorus. “Yeah I’m all American/And that American dream ain’t cheap.”
Jones veers away from the personal in the anthemic song, highlighting the patriotism of centuries of black Americans fighting for equality. “Some people can’t breathe for the flag/Had to take a knee for the flag,” he sings, “I really wanna ride for the flag/but I gotta keep an eye on the flag.”
“American Dream” follows in the wake of Mickey Guyton’s 2020 single “Black Like Me” as a new wave of country artists raising long-buried conversations in country music about race in America.
“I’m not at all political so I hope people pay attention that ‘American Dream’ is a patriotic song about the love I have for my country,” Jones tells Rolling Stone. “America is far from perfect, but we can’t throw away all the progress that my ancestors sacrificed literally everything for to build this country. When we went into the recording studio last 4th of July, the world was flipped upside down, and it just flowed out.”
Jones’ new album Right Now, which will include “American Dream,” will be released Friday.