Country music star Maren Morris honors Black women who pioneered genre at CMAs

Maren Morris thanked Black women at the CMAs as she accepted Female Artist of the Year

Country singer Maren Morris won multiple awards at the Country Music Association Awards Wednesday. Her biggest of the night was the Female Artist of the Year award. While accepting her award, Morris made sure to thank the Black women that came before her. 

Maren Morris accepts an award onstage during the The 54th Annual CMA Awards at Nashville’s Music City Center on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMA)

“There are so many amazing Black women that pioneer and continue to pioneer this genre,” Morris said. “I know they’re gonna come after me. They’ve come before me. You’ve made this genre so, so beautiful. I hope you know that we see you.” 

Read More: Racist country music fans boycott Wrangler’s new Lil Nas X’s collection

Morris dedicated her win to a host of Black women who influenced the genre and made it was it is over the past few decades including Yola, Brittney Spencer, Rissi Palmer and more.

One of the names she mentioned was Linda Martell, a country and R&B singer who was famous in the late 60s and 70s. She was the first African American woman to give a performance at the Grand Ole Opry, a weekly country music concert in Nashville, Tennessee. 

The three hour show was filmed in Nashville and celebrated the history and future of the country music genre.

“Thank you for making me so inspired as a singer in this genre,” Morris continued.

Read More: Are Country Music Awards voters shunning ‘Old Town Road’ nominations?

Black women have often been excluded from the Country music narrative. In 2016, Beyoncé performed her song “Daddy Lessons,” from “Lemonade” at the 50th anniversary of Country Music Association Awards. While fans praised the performance, many on social media made comments about Beyoncé not belonging in the country music scene.

“Why are you showing Beyoncé & Dixie Chicks? One doesn’t believe in America & our police force while the other didn’t support our President & veterans during war,” said a critic on Facebook, according to the New York Times

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!