The Black Music Action Coalition issued a letter Friday (Feb. 5) applauding the country music industry for taking swift action against Morgan Wallen after his use of the N-word was caught on camera.
A video of the country singer yelling the racial slur and other expletives surfaced online Tuesday night, along with a statement to TMZ and a "promise to do better." Wallen had been perceived as country's next global star, but the industry took swift action following the video's release, with iHeartMedia, Entercom and other major radio station groups pulling his music; Big Loud suspending his recording contract "indefinitely"; and streaming platforms removing his music from their official playlists. Furthermore, the Academy of Country Music barred him from "potential involvement and eligibility" at their 2021 awards show and WME dropped him from their booking roster.
In the new letter, the Black Music Action Coalition writes, "Following Morgan Wallen hurling the N-word and being captured on video, decisions and actions from the country music community were swift and sweeping. The message was loud and it was clear: racism will no longer go without consequences."
More than 30 pre-eminent artist managers, attorneys, business managers, agents and other industry professionals united as the BMAC in June 2020, pledging to advance racial justice in the music industry and in society at large for the sake of the Black Lives Matter mission.
Read the BMAC's entire letter below.
Each time we back up our words with action, each time we actually walk the talk, and each time we stand up and do the right thing, even when it’s hard or unpopular –especially when it’s hard or unpopular – that’s when we begin to shift our world to be a more just, human, and equal place. And that’s what we saw from the country music community this week.
Following Morgan Wallen hurling the N-word and being captured on video, decisions and actions from the country music community were swift and sweeping. The message was loud and it was clear: racism will no longer go without consequences. In a matter of hours, the major radio networks iHeartMedia, Cumulus, Cox Media Group, Entercom and Sirius XM had all removed Wallen’s music from their playlists. The cable network, CMT acted quickly with the removal of his appearances and music videos, while the Country Music Association also removed his content from their platform. Meanwhile, The Academy of Country Music halted any Morgan Wallen involvement and eligibility for the upcoming 56th Academy of Country Music Awards cycle. The streaming platforms also made their voices heard – Apple, Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music all removing his music from their curated playlists.
The group effort from the country music community that we are witnessing is an example of what can be done when we choose to oppose racism. Not just in raising money and creating funds, or in press releases and social media posts, but in true action -- to make it clear that enough, is indeed, enough.
While we are heartened by this community endeavor, we know that there are deep rooted racist practices and beliefs within the country music sphere, and the incident with Morgan Wallen is only one small example. There is much more to be done to continue to raise anti-racist awareness, to demolish racism wherever it is encountered, to achieve racial equality, and to support Black country music artists and Black country music executives.
But what we saw this week was a step in the right direction. And we applaud that step.
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