Country music still has a race problem. Let’s talk about it. (Morgan Wallen)
I am a Black woman who lives in the deep South. I am a huge fan of country music, but I am still disappointed by the industry’s inaction in terms of racial justice. There is a lot of talk about diversity in country music. The lack of women and Black voices in country music is a problem. And it’s one that the country music industry has been working to address — with mixed results. The Academy of Country Music, the Country Music Association, and even the Grand Ole Opry have all created “diversity task forces” (yes, those quotes are intentional) to address this issue. But we need more than just talk — we need action.
An article dated May 31, 2022 reads: “Morgan Wallen plays sold-out show on Norfolk’s Waterside Drive”. When it comes to the harm to Black and brown people, white people have short memories. Although Morgan Wallen falls on my “my fave is problematic list”, I haven’t moved on. Right now, I am enraged and disappointed.
On Jan. 23, 2021, Dangerous: The Double Album debuted at number one on the Top Country Albums chart with 265,000 equivalent album units. Wikipedia stated that the album has been Billboard’s top country album for the longest time on the chart (61 weeks as of March 2022) — the most country sales since Taylor Swift’s Fearless in 2008, which remained in the Billboard 200 chart Top 10 for 59 weeks, had previously set the record.
Morgan Wallen is currently in the midst of his massive The Dangerous Tour in support of his latest album. The tour, which is the biggest country tour of 2022 and runs through October, recently sold-out with over 800,000 tickets sold, according to Up2DateCountry. He just released his second single from the Dangerous album, “Thought You Should Know,” which is already climbing up the charts and making waves among fans and critics alike.
This Wednesday, it was also announced that Morgan Wallen is set to receive the Academy of Country Music Milestone Award, and it’s yet another reminder that the country music industry is not interested in including Black artists in their ranks — or even acknowledging their existence…