Morgan Wallen's Album of the Year ACM win polarizes Twitter: 'Racist country fans can rejoice!'
In February 2021, less than a month after country star Morgan Wallen released his sophomore effort Dangerous: The Double Album, he was caught on camera using a racial slur; the fallout was immediate, with country radio stations banning his music and his label suspending him. The backlash hardly affected Wallen’s commercial success — many fans rallied in fact around him, causing Dangerous’s sales to spike by more than 1,000 percent and eventually reach double-platinum — but the album was passed over for nomination by most awards shows, including this year’s Grammy Awards.
However, at Monday’s 2022 Academy of Country Music Awards, Wallen earned nods for Male Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year — and Dangerous actually won in the latter category. This was Wallen’s first major award since the N-word controversy, and while he did not mention that controversy in his acceptance speech (other than vaguely thanking his supportive fanbase and “everyone who has shown me grace along the way”), country fans on social media mostly definitely addressed it.
ACM viewers on Twitter were divided. Some argued that Wallen deserved the Album of the Year honor and gleefully declared his victory a blow against “cancel culture”:
Morgan Wallen with a wayy overdue Album of the Year. Cancel culture can kiss his ass. #ACMawards @MorganWallen
— Richard George (@RickR415) March 8, 2022
Morgan Wallen deserves that album of the year after they tried to take everything from him.🤍 @MorganWallen
— Grace Trim💕 (@gracetriim) March 8, 2022
Morgan Wallen wins the American Country Music Award for Album of the Year.
The American people have spoken and have decided that cancel culture can firmly grasp this L. pic.twitter.com/xpBtFQzx5y
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 8, 2022
Gotta be happy for @MorganWallen winning “Album Of The Year” on the #ACMawards. Glad he’s accepted again, I will say again and again for as long as I live. pic.twitter.com/hz4UfkMX7E
— PatrickRThomes (@PatrickThomes) March 8, 2022
Give that man his gosh damn award! Thankfully the #ACMawards didn’t succumb to the cancel culture pressures like other award shows have. Every artist in Nashville knows he deserved that award, like him or not. So happy for the kid. 🤙🏽🤙🏽#CountryMusic #MorganWallen pic.twitter.com/vO0o3p5dVm
— Bopper (@TheDiddyBop) March 8, 2022
Other fans were furious that a “racist” had been forgiven so quickly, since Wallen had actually been declared ineligible at last year’s ACM Awards due to the scandal:
Does your "savior Jesus christ" help you drop those N bombs too Morgan Wallen? Album of the year?? For the record, about 10 months is how long you will get punished for being racist in country music #ACMawards
— NL (@NJL84) March 8, 2022
The irony that the @ACMawards disrespect @carrieunderwood every year for Entertainer but happy to award RACIST Morgan Wallen album of the year? Says it all really #ACMawards #ACMs @MorganWallen
— Stewart King (@MyGift1994) March 8, 2022
did y'all watching the american country music show also feel like the Black man hugging morgan wallen was most definitely planted there to make him look like he's not a horrific racist... or was that just me
— c8 🧚🏼✨ (@chaoticc8_) March 8, 2022
They let Morgan Wallen win album of the year? The man who very publicly said the n word? And you give him an award?! I hate it here I really do #ACMawards
— Charlie (@charles_buckel) March 8, 2022
The #ACMawards just proved by allowing #morganwallen to win you can disrespect people and spew hate and still come out a winner without any consequences. Clearly there is a double standard in #countrymusic . #smh
— Mike Villa (@michaelwvilla) March 8, 2022
Morgan Wallen winning anything goes to show you country music has no issues with racists and celebrates then. He's trash and those that like him are too. #ACMawards
— NoneOfYourBusiness (@strummerthecat) March 8, 2022
Morgan Wallen wins Album of the Year. Racist country fans can rejoice! #ACMawards
— Kerry S. 🇺🇦 (@lettingloose2) March 8, 2022
Additionally, many tweeters noticed that country star Maren Morris — an ally who dedicated her 2020 Female Artist of the Year Award at another major ceremony, the Country Music Association Awards, to Black women in country music — did not applaud when Wallen won Album of the Year. However, public opinion was mixed on that issue as well.
We stan Marren Morris and all country artists who did not clap when Morgan Wallen won. Scr3w that racist, sexist, homophobe.
— All Too Unwell FOREVER (@WINTER_Rockvato) March 8, 2022
maren morris didn’t stand OR clap for morgan wallen’s album of the year win. we stan a true queen #ACMawards
— jacoв (@GiddyUpBardua) March 8, 2022
@MarenMorris made an ass of herself tonight by not clapping when @MorganWallen won album of the year. Frowning clown. Yeah we see you. #Noclass #ACMawards
— Carter Hall (@TennHawkman) March 8, 2022
While Wallen obviously remains a polarizing figure in country music, his 2021 scandal did put a spotlight on the need for more diversity and inclusion within the country genre. Such representation was thankfully a big part of Monday’s ACMs Awards ceremony, with several Black country artists, including cohost Jimmie Allen, Breland, Brittney Spencer, Kane Brown, and Mickey Guyton, making appearances.
The 57th annual Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony, which was hosted by Dolly Parton, took place Monday evening at Las Vegas’s Allegiant Stadium and streamed live on Amazon Prime. Below is the full list of 2022 winners:
Entertainer of the Year: Miranda Lambert
Female Artist of the Year: Carly Pearce
Male Artist of the Year: Chris Stapleton
Album of the Year: Morgan Wallen, Dangerous: The Double Album
Single of the Year: Jason Aldean & Carrie Underwood, “If I Didn't Love You”
Song of the Year: Lainey Wilson, “Things a Man Oughta Know”
New Female Artist of the Year: Lainey Wilson
New Male Artist of the Year: Parker McCollum
Duo of the Year: Brothers Osborne
Group of the Year: Old Dominion
Video of the Year: Elle King & Miranda Lambert, “Drunk (And I Don't Wanna Go Home)”
Songwriter of the Year: Michael Hardy
Music Event of the Year: Carly Pearce & Ashley McBryde, “Never Wanted to Be That Girl”
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
Country star Mickey Guyton on trying to fit in: 'I ran away from my Blackness. I ran away from everything that makes me different.'
Maren Morris dedicates CMA Award to Black female country artists: ‘I hope you know that we see you’
Jon Batiste, ABBA, Morgan Wallen, Arooj Aftab: Biggest snubs and surprises of the 2022 Grammy nominations
Dolly Parton talks lost Elvis song, the story behind her best '9 to 5' line, and navigating showbiz: 'You gotta look like a woman and think like a man'