A surprise performance over the weekend by controversial country music singer Morgan Wallen has caused quite the stir for the historic Grand Ole Opry after the venue hosted the singer during a performance.
The Saturday show at country music's most historic venue, alongside Wallen's fellow Big Loud label-mate ERNEST, has given many the impression that the Opry is now giving Wallen their blessing after he used a racial slur earlier last year.
As the Tennessean reported this week, the Opry's Twitter feed was flooded with backlash after the performance, and many pointed to a June 2020 tweet sent out by the Opry as protests spread across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd which read, "Racism is real. It is unacceptable. And it has no place at the Grand Ole Opry."
Wallen's performance comes as the Opry has been working to feature more Black artists on its historic stage like BRELAND, Willie Jones and Brittney Spencer. As the Tennessean highlighted, tweets from artists and allies came in criticizing the venue for hosting Wallen.
American singer Jason Isbell wrote, "you had a choice- either upset one guy and his “team,” or break the hearts of a legion of aspiring Black country artists. You chose wrong."
Surprise! @MorganWallen joins @ernest615 to perform their new duet “Flower Shops” 🎶 pic.twitter.com/3UzRyC5gHd— Grand Ole Opry (@opry) January 9, 2022
In November Wallen announced that he is planning on touring again. Wallen had previously had his recording contract suspended "indefinitely" by Big Loud Records after a video surfaced of him using a racial slur.
Earlier in 2021 Wallen's scheduled "Saturday Night Live" performance was also canceled after he violated the show's COVID-19 protocols.