Black country music icon Charley Pride wins lifetime achievement award at CMAs

In 1971, Charley Pride was named Entertainer of the Year at the CMA awards

The 54th annual CMA Awards were held at the Music City Center in Nashville on Wednesday and groundbreaking Black Country artist, Charley Pride, received a lifetime achievement award.

Charley Pride attends the 54th annual CMA Awards at the Music City Center on November 11, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMA)

Pride gained prominence in the late 60s and stayed on top well into the 80s. He had 30 number 1 hits on the Billboard Country music song charts and had 52 top 10 hits over the course of his career.

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

“With all the people that have been influenced by my life, what my life has been influenced by, I got to say something about some of them,” said Pride. 

The 86-year-old singer then thanked a number of people who worked with and supported him over the years, during his acceptance speech.

This was not the first major CMA award that Pride has received. In 1971, Pride was named Entertainer of the Year at the CMA awards and he was inducted into the CMA’s Hall of Fame class of 2000, according to NBC.

According to The Associated Press, singer Jimmy Allen said if it weren’t for Pride’s music and subsequent influence, there wouldn’t be himself, Darius Rucker, Kane Brown, Mickey Guyton, Cowboy Troy, or “any other Black country artist that’s on their way right now.”

Read More: Lil Nas X celebrates CMAs nomination after Country charts snub

This year’s awards, like much else in the U.S., seem to have been impacted by the nationwide movement for equity and representation in all industries. Rucker, one of the most prominent Black country artists today, was the first Black co-host of the CMA Awards in 45 years, and the second of all time.

As theGrio previously reported, Maren Morris, while accepting her award for CMA Female Artist of the Year, made sure to thank the Black women that came before her.

“There are so many amazing Black women that pioneer and continue to pioneer this genre,” Morris said.

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