Family means a lot to Jimmie Allen — and so does country music. And they’re both going to be taking center stage over the next week when the country artist is featured in the Dove Men+Care campaign for Father’s Day a week before he drops his new album, “Tulip Drive,” on June 24.
The bandana he always wears under his hat and the purple scarf that hangs from his belt loop are tributes to his grandmother, as is the title of his new album.
“That’s the name of the street she lived on in Delaware where I spent a lot of time growing up,” Allen said. “So for every show, I wear the purple scarf, a big brown hat, sunglasses and a bandana. I didn’t know that would become the Jimmie Allen staple look,” he said with a laugh.
In addition to his now-signature look, the father of three is hoping to become known for being a top-notch dad to his three children: son Aadyn, 8, and daughters Naomi Bettie, 2, and Zara James, eight months.
“I love my family. My mom, my dad, my grandma, my siblings, they did a great job and taught me to work hard and be a good person,” he said. “Now, being a father is something I take seriously. Fatherhood is a privilege but it’s also an obligation to instill values to the next generation. We laugh and we joke, but I try to teach them lessons, too. Sometimes I find things that I was taught as a kid come rumbling back. But that’s good, it’s like loading a tool kit for them for the future.”
Allen, along with Glen Henry from the Beleaf in Fatherhood, and The Dad Gang, are teaming up with Dove Men+Care to celebrate Black dads on social media platforms this Father’s Day as part of a social media campaign called Celebrate Black Dads.
In a survey, Dove Men+Care found that while three-quarters of Black fathers see people like them on social media, less than half believe they’re being portrayed accurately and want to see more fathers doing activities, caring for their kids and showing emotional vulnerability. That’s what the campaign is intended to do.
And Dove Men+Care’s social focus is what drew Allen to the brand. “I want to work with people with a positive message. What they’re doing is great because they’re changing the narrative on Black fathers and men’s hygiene at the same time.”
Beyond Dove Men+Care, Allen is also changing the narrative in country music by showcasing the talent of Black artists. He cited other Black country artists, like the late Charley Pride as well as contemporary artists Kane Brown and Darius Rucker, as role models, and together, “I feel we’re making a difference,” he said of the historically white music genre. “Unless you see someone who looks like you, it’s hard to see yourself in that forum.”
He also singled out some lesser-known Black artists such as Tony Jackson and Cleve Francis and said he’d like to do his part to highlight them on social media to help raise their visibility.
As for his next album “Tulip Drive,” “This is the first album where every song is about a specific moment in my life, from relationships, the hardships of life, to the parties and the good times,” he said. “I really wanted to get more personal and I’m really proud of how it came out.”
The album also touches on many types of music, from country to pop, R&B and even rap. “With me doing TV, the Dove campaign, you never know where people will hear my name and the type of music they listen to, so I wanted to give everyone something they’d love,” he said.
He said he’ll be on his “Down Home” tour all summer — his first headlining tour — and will add the songs from the new album to his set list after it comes out. And then starting in October and running through the spring of 2023, Allen will open for Carrie Underwood at 43 arena shows on her “Denim & Rhinestones” tour.
While Underwood has become known for her eye-popping red carpet looks, Allen is no slouch in the fashion department either. He’s been photographed in shiny, embellished suits and jackets, with mesh shirts and lots of statement jewelry.
“I love bling and sparkly jackets with my cowboy boots,” he said. “The way I describe it is: if a redneck spent the summer with Elton John and Kanye West. I take every piece of who I am and mix it to create my style. I look at clothes as a piece of entertainment and another branch of marketing. If four artists are on stage and they all wear the same black T-shirt and jeans, then they all start to sound alike, too. But if my clothes grab your attention, then my music will keep your attention.”