Black country singers call out industry racism on heels of Morgan Wallen incident

Singer Mickey Guyton
Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

Country singer Morgan Wallen has received support from his fans after he posted an apology video on his Instagram page on Feb. 10. The “More Than My Hometown” singer apologized for using a racial slur after his behavior was caught on camera earlier this month.

But in the days after the initial incident, some Black country singers were weighing in on social media to say that this is symptomatic of a more widespread problem with racism in Nashville.

Country singer Brittney Spencer wrote on Twitter on Feb. 3 that racism has “run rampant” in the world of country music, and the only way to move forward is to have honest conversations about it.

Wallen’s album sales have spiked since the video with the racist slur was released to the public, which reveals an uncomfortable truth about racism in Nashville and beyond, Mickey Guyton noted on Twitter. Guyton is the first solo Black female artist to receive a Grammy nomination in a country music category, and she’s no stranger to racism in the music industry.

“This is country music,” she tweeted on Feb. 3 with a screenshot a fan posting about buying Wallen’s CD set:

She also tweeted a series of posts on her experiences with racism in the country music industry.

“I question on a daily basis as to why I continue to fight to be in an industry that seems to hate me so much,” she wrote in a tweet. “But then I realize there is a new artist of color, all bright eyed and excited to be in this industry.”

“This artist might not have the strength to fight for themselves,” she continued in the thread. “But I do. And I will be that artists [sic] warrior as they pursue their dream of singing country music because their dreams are valid too.”

Guyton ended the thread by saying she doesn’t believe in cancel culture.

“Watching anyone fall from grace is a terrible thing to see,” she wrote. “People must all be given a chance to change. Morgan must feel the weight of his words but completely throwing someone away is detrimental to anyone’s mental health.”

Country musician Jimmie Allen took a similar tone in his tweets on Feb. 6, writing that “forgiveness is more powerful than abandonment.” He tweeted that while we all make mistakes, “accountability is very important” as we grow up and learn to do better.

Author and journalist Andrea Williams expressed disappointment about the turn the story has taken, though.

“Morgan Wallen’s n-word is the perfect opportunity for this industry to do long overdue work, to uproot the culture that normalizes this behavior all the time, even when it’s not caught on camera,” author and journalist Andrea Williams wrote on Twitter. “Instead, the story has become about Wallen himself — his rebuke and his redemption.”

If you’re looking to discover more country music by Black artists, check out this Spotify playlist assembled by CMT.

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Bridget Sharkey
Bridget Sharkey is a freelance writer covering pop culture, beauty, food, health and nature. Visit Scripps News to see more of Bridget's work.

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