NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - She doesn't sing, play an instrument, or write songs, but Beverly Keel's lifelong impact on the country music world gets big applause on and off music row. The McGavock High school and Middle Tennessee State grad is now the first female Dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at MTSU.

But making music is not why she's here.

"I think they call me a disrupter, and it has to do with my activism and of course not everybody is happy with what I have to say,” Keel said.  She’s a journalist first, in her father's footsteps, shooting for Columbia University, the Nashville Banner, the Tennessean, then Music Row called and she took over.

All of that led to her current job, the first Female Dean inside the college of Media and Entertainment. The awards on the wall are about her past, but it’s the work at MTSU that’s paving the future. She boldly puts it like this, “Country music has been the music of white people, it is not that people of color didn't listen or don't play, it's that industry doors were never open,” Keel said.

That's already changing. Brittany Spencer and Mickey Guyton are now climbing the popularity charts. Beverly is not the star, but now the stars come to see her like Lionel Ritchie, Lester Holt, Smokey Robinson and Alice Cooper.

All fans of the plan, which make her hopeful.

“I love Nashville, I love Middle Tennessee. I think they are wonderful, but they can be better, and I want to be part that makes it better,” Keel said.

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Feature Reporter

Terry Bulger has been bringing you stories of the people and places that make Tennessee unique and interesting on News4 since 1990. Contact Terry if you have an interesting community story for him to cover.

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