Jason Isbell Is Donating His Morgan Wallen Royalties to the NAACP

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Jonathan Bernstein
·2 min read
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One of the most streamed songs on Morgan Wallen’s four-week Number One album Dangerous: The Double Album is “Cover Me Up,” Wallen’s version of Jason Isbell’s signature song about getting sober and the healing power of love. Following Wallen’s industry-wide rebuke last week for using a racial slur, Isbell has announced that he is donating the money he’s earned from Wallen’s recording to the NAACP.

“A portion of this money goes to me, since I wrote ‘Cover Me Up,'” Isbell tweeted on Wednesday. “I’ve decided to donate everything I’ve made so far from [Wallen’s] album to the Nashville chapter of the NAACP. Thanks for helping out a good cause, folks.”

Isbell’s decision to donate his share of royalties from Dangerous comes a week after TMZ published a video of Wallen uttering the “n-word” in front of his home in Nashville. Isbell himself blasted the country star for his actions, tweeting, “Wallen’s behavior is disgusting and horrifying. I think this is an opportunity for the country music industry to give that spot to somebody who deserves it, and there are lots of black artists who deserve it.”

Wallen’s songs were quickly dropped from radio programming and removed from streaming-service playlists, but his sales soared in the days since the incident. Album sales increased by 1,220 percent last Wednesday compared to Tuesday, while his song sales were up 327 percent, according to Alpha Data, the data analytics provider that powers the Rolling Stone Charts.

Wallen first released his version of “Cover Me Up,” a powerful ballad from Isbell’s 2013 album Southeastern, in 2018. After the song became a surprise fan-favorite for Wallen, he included a version on the 30-track Dangerous, released in January.

Since the video surfaced last Tuesday, Wallen has had his record label contract suspended, was made ineligible for the upcoming ACM Awards, and lost his agency representation with WME. The Nashville chapter of the NAACP, meanwhile, reached out to Wallen, offering to educate him about what he said.

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