Morgan Wallen will miss the upcoming Country Music Association (CMA) Awards on November 10 despite being one of the top performing artists of 2021.
The CMA barred Wallen from the event over the release of a video earlier this year, which showed Wallen calling a friend a racial slur after a late night of heavy drinking in Nashville. The CMA has also banned Wallen from winning any individual awards, though it allowed him to compete for awards honoring his work to avoid punishing any of Wallen’s collaborators.
“This was something we looked at from so many angles,” CMA CEO Sarah Trahern said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The decision, ultimately, was the man would not be allowed, but the music and the people who were part of it [songwriters and producers] could be eligible. That made his music eligible in five categories, and ultimately, he was nominated in one.”
“This is the first time in the history of the CMA, to my knowledge, anyone has ever been disqualified for conduct. Honoring him as an individual this year is not right, and he will not be allowed on the red carpet, on our stage, or be celebrated in any way,” she added.
In February, a video reportedly filmed by one of Wallen’s neighbors leaked online of the country music star drunkenly calling a friend a “p****-a** n*****.” Wallen was consequently banned from multiple awards shows, dropped by his talent agent, and his music removed from several platforms.
Despite the backlash within his industry, fans rallied around Wallen, and his music experienced a surge in sales. He is one of the most successful artists in 2021 and is on track to sell more albums this year than any other artist across all genres, according to the Times. Wallen’s latest album, “Dangerous: The Double Album,” is nominated to win album of the year at the CMA awards.
At the Billboard Music Awards show held earlier this year, Wallen, who was banned from attending the event, won Top Country Artist, Top Country Male Artist, and Top Country Album because of fan support.
Wallen apologized for using the slur, which he said happened “on hour 72 of a bender,” in a February video. As The Daily Wire reported:
“The video you saw was me on hour 72 of a bender, and that’s not something I’m proud of either,” a solemn Wallen says in the video, posted to social media and sent to TMZ. “Obviously, the natural thing to do is to apologize further and continue to apologize because you got caught, and that’s not what I wanted to do.”
“I let so many people down who mean a lot to me, who have given so much to me, it’s just not fair,” he said. “I let my parents down and they’re the furthest thing from the person in that video. I let my son down and I’m not OK with that.”
The 27-year-old said he was offered the opportunity to have “some very real and honest conversations” with leaders of various black organizations, according to Fox News.
“This week I heard firsthand some personal stories from Black people that honestly shook me,” he explained. “And I know what I’m going through this week doesn’t even compare to some of the trials I about from them. I came away from those discussions with a deep appreciation for them and a clearer understanding of the weight of my words.”
“Our actions matter,” Wallen said. “Our words matter and I just want to encourage anyone watching to please learn from my mistake. There’s no reason to downplay what I did. It matters and please know I’m carefully choosing my next steps in repair.”