Late country music icon Charley Pride is the focus of the 90-minute special CMT Giants: Charley Pride, which airs Wednesday night (Aug. 25) on CMT, beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
The all-star celebration honors the life and career of Pride, who overcame racial barriers to become country music’s first Black superstar. Pride notched numerous hits during his five-plus decades in music, including “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me),” the Grammy-winning “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’,” “It’s Gonna Take a Little Bit Longer,” “She’s Too Good to Be True” and many more.
Pride died Dec. 12 from COVID-19 complications at age 86.
The docu-special, which was filmed at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater, will include Pride’s wife Rozene, as well as artists Jimmie Allen, Reba McEntire, Darius Rucker, Luke Combs, Mickey Guyton, George Strait, Wynonna, Ronnie Milsap, Reyna Roberts, Gladys Knight, Garth Brooks and more. In addition to artists performing their favorite Pride hits, the special also includes rare interview segments with Pride, as well as mementos from his country music career and his early work as a Negro League Baseball pitcher. Baseball legend Nolan Ryan is also featured on the special.
During the broadcast, Guyton performs Pride’s 1971 hit “I’m Just Me,” while Allen performs 1969’s “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me).”
“If I was to talk about Charley‘s musical legacy that he left behind, I would think about the songs, but I would also think about the artists that he left behind that’s his legacy: Kane Brown, Mickey Guyton, myself, Darius Rucker, Willie Jones, Rissi Palmer, Breland, Tiera, you know that the list goes on with people he inspired that looks like him, you know,” Allen said in a statement. “I feel like we’re his legacy, and he did a great job at showing us what it means to be a person of color in country music, to be yourself, and that inspired so many artists like myself and hopefully we can continue his legacy inspiring other artists to where it’s no longer a thing — to where the word diversity isn’t a thing in country music — it just is where we get to a point where it’s like pop. There’s no diversity word in pop music, you know? There’s no diversity word in Christian music, so we want to just keep carrying the legacy of Charley Pride to where diversity is no longer a word and it’s just country music.”
Rucker performs Pride’s 1978 hit “Someone Loves You Honey” and says of their relationship: “I’m still friends with Charley in my heart. He was just a guy that, he was a mentor, he was somebody that, instantly when we met years ago, he took me under his wing and wanted to give me all the wisdom he could give me, and I soaked up as much as I could. He was a special man, and I miss him dearly.”