Grand Ole Opry Slammed For Having Morgan Wallen On Stage
The Grand Ole Opry is under fire after welcoming Morgan Wallen back to its stage on Saturday night.
The singer, who was caught on camera nearly a year ago using a racist slur, joined Ernest to perform their collaboration “Flower Shops.”
Wallen shared several photos from the show on his Instagram. “Thanks for letting me be a part of it,” he wrote in the caption.
A photo of the pair was also posted to the Opry’s official Twitter account with the caption: “Surprise!”
Singer-songwriter Jason Isbell responded via Twitter that he was “not surprised … just sad.”
He tweeted: “Last night @opry you had a choice – either upset one guy and his ‘team,’ or break the hearts of a legion of aspiring Black Country artist. You chose wrong and I’m real sad for a lot of my friends today.”
Nashville-based artist Joy Oladokun also tweeted that she was not surprised. “The choices white people make out of convenience have emotional and actual consequences for people like me,” she wrote.
Oladokun said Wallen’s “thoughtless redemption tour is the nail in the coffin of me realizing these systems, and this town, is really not for us.
“imma keep making my lil music in my attic. y’all can listen if you want. i don’t know that I’ll do this work forever.”
Singer Emily Scott Robinson said she wishes the Opry was “a place where my Black friends feel celebrated, safe, welcome and equal.” She tweeted: “Consider what it means to invite Morgan Wallen on stage with no accountability about his personally harmful and racist actions and NO larger dialogue about racism in country music. The message you are sending here is that you want truth and reconciliation to be clean and easy and sweet. It’s not. It requires us to come clean about all that we have been complicit in.”
Black Opry founder Holly G shared a letter she sent to the Grand Ole Opry. "I am extremely confused by the welcoming of Morgan Wallen to the Opry stage last night,” she wrote. “You were very clear about the fact that some people do not deserve a spot on that stage, which lets me know that each guest is intentional and thought through. That being the case, how was this deemed okay?
“You should know that our community is extremely disappointed, though many are not surprised. A stage that was once a dream destination for many Black artists has now cemented itself as one of the many Nashville stages on which we know we are not respected.”
Holly G added: “I would like an explanation as to why you all felt this was okay, and to know how you all plan to heal the rift you’ve now aggravated between the Opry and the Black fans and artists who previously wished to support and participate.”
The Opry, which has only two Black artists as members – Charley Pride and Darius Rucker – tweeted in June 2020 that racism is “real” and “unacceptable.” It has not commented publicly on the backlash to having Wallen back on stage.
Wallen was suspended from his record label, dropped from his agency and his songs were pulled from radio stations and some streaming services after a video of him using the racist slur was posted on TMZ. Producers of awards shows stated that the singer was eligible for nominations but would not be invited to attend their shows.
Last July, Wallen said “there are no excuses to use this type of language, ever.” But, he told GMA he had used the slur before. “I wouldn’t say frequently. No, no, not frequently. It was just around this certain group of friends.”
Wallen said he was “clearly drunk” in the video. “In our minds, it’s playful, you know? I don’t know if that sounds ignorant, but that’s really where it came from,” he said. “It’s wrong. … I didn’t mean it in any derogatory manner at all."
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