Maren Morris ‘gives recognition’ to Black women in country music at the CMAs

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In 2016, Beyonce accepted an invitation to perform at the CMAs. Her album Lemonade had come out months earlier, and she had not performed her song “Daddy Lessons” at any kind of awards show before that. Beyonce arranged for the Dixie Chicks – who collaborated on the song on the album – to perform with her at the CMAs, in what was the Chicks’ first performance at a country-music awards show in more than a decade. I remember the reaction to it too – there were a lot of white country fans mad about the simple fact that BEYONCE was on the CMAs. There were many white people telling Beyonce that she wasn’t welcome in country music, and she should take the Chicks with her on her way out the door.

That moment has stuck with me. For the most part, country music people continue to behave as if their genre is simply all-white, and fans of their genre are all white too. Not Maren Morris. The CMAs were held last night in Nashville, and Maren’s “The Bones” picked up several awards. During one of her speeches, she made a special shout-out to the black women in country music who inspire her:

She said, in part:

“…There are some [people] in my mind that I want to give recognition to because I’m just a fan of their music, and they’re as country as it gets. I just want them all to know how much we love them back. Check out their music after this. It’s Linda Martell, Yola, Mickey Guyton, Rissi Palmer, Brittney Spencer, Rhiannon Giddens … there are so many amazing Black women that pioneered and continue to pioneer this genre, and I know they’re going to come after me, and they’ve come before me, but you make this genre so, so beautiful. I hope you know that we see you. Thank you for making me so inspired as a singer in this genre.”

[Via People]

It was a good thing to do. I’ve been surprised by the strides *some* country music personalities have made in recent years towards speaking up about race and social issues. Maren is one of the new generation of country stars, a hopefully woker generation full of mostly women talking about feminism and racial justice and Black Lives Matter. Maren has a song out now called “Better Than We Found It” which is described as pro-BLM and pro-Dreamer.

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16 Responses to “Maren Morris ‘gives recognition’ to Black women in country music at the CMAs”

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  1. margedebarge says:

    Maren is part of the Highwomen along with Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby, all very forward-thinking women in country and all worth a listen together and separately. I already loved Yola and I’m vaguely familiar with Rhiannon Goddess but I definitely need to dive deep into the other artists she mentioned!

  2. Chimes@Midnight says:

    Yeah I remember the big pearl clutching, fainting in church, getting tha vapors fit over Old Town Road too.

    Country music has Charlie Pride and Darius Rucker like Nascar has Bubba Wallace.

  3. Erin says:

    I’ve heard a few statements from this person that have made me really admire and respect her. Checking out here music plus the artists she mentioned today!

  4. Michael says:

    Ironically American country music is really popular in Africa but very few country acts are bright enough to cash in on that fact

    • Unnie says:

      Please can we be specific about which country in Africa. Africa is a big continent and if we as Africans continue to refer to it as if its a country then we can’t blame Americans for also doing so. Country music is not big in my part of “Africa” .

      • Anna says:

        Thank you @Unnie for this comment! Agree with all.

        So important that people stop with the generalizations. Africa as a *continent* is four times the size of the U.S.
        I even hate making that comparison but it’s what people know, however limited their concepts of geography may be growing up in the U.S.), comprised of so many countries of vastly different peoples, and in Nigeria alone, there are more than 200 different ethnic groups and *languages* (note, I did not say “dialects” or “tribes”)…sigh…

        @Michael What I will say, though, is when I was growing up in *Nigeria*, country music was popular in certain rural areas. I think there is an idea of the music of the people, the lone cowboy, so many traditions worldwide of “country” music that speaks to a kind of down-home, rural sensibility. I loved Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers (RIP) and still gravitate toward that music. For me personally, it’s something to do with the chord arrangements for the vocals. A colleague has recently taught a class on the intersections of country music and hip hop. Very interesting.

        And no, the white supremacist country acts can stay in the U.S. No infecting or cashing in.

  5. Bc says:

    Wasnt Country and Blues pioneered from Blacks? Correct me if im wrong.

    • Jezebel's Lacefront says:

      Yes. You’re not wrong.

    • Anna says:

      Yup. The general pattern is: Black people create something, white people steal it and rename it and then exclude and omit Black people from participating and from any credit.

  6. osito says:

    Yola had been one of my go-tos in quarantine. “Faraway Look” is somehow simultaneously an excellent chill out song when I’m feeling *low* and a rev up song for when I’m working out. I‘m glad she and the others got a shout out. I’ll definitely give a listen to the names I didn’t recognize.

  7. Angel says:

    The Bones is my jam and I was so happy she won last night.

  8. Mee says:

    Well country comes from black people. The way they hold their guitar, cross body, that was FIRST done by a black woman!!

    • Jane Doe says:


    • Anna says:

      All truth! And before that, linked to the kora and other West African instruments that are precursors to the banjo.

      Shout out to Sister Rosetta Tharpe (RIP)! (Maybe more blues than country but that’s splitting hairs…)

  9. Nlopez says:

    Love her & her music. ! My Church is still one of my fave songs