The Grand Ole Opry, a country venue and event organizer, has come under criticism for allowing Morgan Wallen, a singer caught on film last year uttering a racist slur, to play on the historical program in Nashville on Sunday night.
Wallen’s presence has caused a backlash on social media, particularly from singer-songwriter Jason Isbell, who has criticized the Grand Ole Opry, which bills itself as “The Show That Made Country Music Famous.”
In response to Wallen’s appearance, the creator of the Black Opry, a forum for Black Country singers and artists, addressed a letter to talent organizers at the show, calling it “very perplexing” and a “slap in the face” to individuals of color in the scene.
“You should know that our community is quite unhappy, but many are not shocked,” stated Holly G, creator of the Black Opry. “What was once a dream location for many Black musicians has now become one of the many Nashville platforms where we know we are not acknowledged.”
His concert on Sunday night was for another country music singer, ERNEST, who was making his Grand Ole Opry debut.
Wallen, caught on camera using the N-word on a night out last February, won three top country music awards at the Billboard Awards last year despite being barred from the show due to the controversy.
While his record label, Big Loud Records, first terminated his contract and numerous radio stations removed his songs from their playlists, Wallen’s album, “Dangerous: The Double Album,” was a top seller last year, selling 3.2 million sales, according to a report by music analytics firm MRC Data.
His contract and radio spots were also reinstated some months after their suspensions.
Wallen apologized for using the racist slur, but he garnered fire last week for appearing to term the response against him “noise” in an Instagram post, as Holly mentioned in her letter.