ACM Awards Nominees Include Small Milestones

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ACM Awards Tries to Diversify

The Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM Awards) announced the 2021’s nominees.  And with this 56th annual event, it takes its first small steps towards diversity and inclusion in country music.

For the first time in ACM Awards history, a woman artist is present in every Single of the Year nomination. These women artists are Miranda Lambert, Gabby Barrett, Maren Morris, Carly Pearce (with Lee Brice), and Ingrid Andress.

Likewise, four Black artists are present in nominations as well. This is a new record for the award show. These Black artists are Kane Brown, Jimmie Allen, Mickey Guyton, and John Legend (in a duet with Carrie Underwood). No Black artists were nominees last year.

On the other hand, in response to recognizing racial divides in country music, there are no nominations for Morgan Wallen. The ACM Awards barred him from receiving any, in response to his usage of a racial slur early in February. Last year, Wallen received a nomination for New Artist of the Year at the 55th annual ACM Awards. This year, he likely would have been a nominee for Male Artist of the Year, Single of the Year, and Song of the Year.

Country Music Can Do Better

These nominations are by no means the best ACM Awards can do. Mickey Guyton is the only Black woman artist nominee. And she is excluded from every single category except New Female Artist of the Year. Similarly, Jimmie Allen is a rising Black star in country music, but only a New Male Artist of the Year nominee.

In what could be considered the most inclusive move by the ACM Awards, Kane Brown is nominated for Album of the Year. Yet the ACM Awards exclude Brown from every other category, unlike his white peers who are nominees in multiple categories.

“Kane Brown performing in Cedar Park, Texas (2019-03-08)” by RalphArvesen is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

No woman of any race is a nominee for Entertainer of the Year, the top spot in the award show. No Black artists of any gender are nominees for Entertainer of the Year, Male or Female Artist of the Year, Duo of the Year, Group of the Year, Single of the Year, Song of the Year, Music Event of the Year, or Songwriter of the Year.

This year marks a small, but important change in the ACM Awards. This marks a new beginning in representation in country music. Hopefully, next year we will see an even greater change.

This year’s ACM Awards is premiering April 18 on CBS live at 8 PM on the east coast. The west coast will see a delayed premiere for the same time slot. Last year Keith Urban hosted, but we don’t know who is hosting or performing yet. We’ll keep tabs on the matter and update you on our Road to the Academy of Country Music Awards.

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