KANSAS CITY, Mo. — People across the metro are mourning the loss of baseball, and country music legend Charley Pride.
Pride was a Negro League all-star, and the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Saturday, he died from complication with COVID-19. Some metro residents say his passing leaves a massive void.
“I’ve got to give my life to him because he made me who I am today. I’m Country.” Joseph Gibbs, Kansas City resident, said.
Charlie Pride fought and prevailed against an onslaught of racial discrimination on his path to becoming a country music superstar.
When he began performing, he had to sing behind curtains so that no one could see that he was Black.
Gibbs says Pride’s bravery allowed him to embrace his country roots.
“I remember when Charley Pride had to sing behind stages. They wouldn’t open up the curtain to let people see what race he was, but just listen to his voice,” Gibbs said.
Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, said the thing he will miss the most is hearing Pride’s voice resonating through the halls of the museum.
“That I won’t get the opportunity to hang out with Charley Pride and to be able to put that guitar in his hand one more time and let him do what he did as well as anyone. And so, it is a sad day,” Kendrick said.
Pride leaves behind shoes impossible to fill.
“Oh my Gosh! Guess what who’s the new pioneer. Do we have anybody else?” Gibbs said.
Pride was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. He won three Grammy Awards, and sold over 25 million records.
He is survived by his wife Rozene and three children Dion, Angela, and Kraig.