Morgan Wallen

Morgan Wallen


United States: country singer Morgan Wallen hits the mark despite huge controversy

Morgan Wallen is a hit in the United States with his album “Dangerous: The Double Album”, number one in sales for 10 weeks. However, the singer is at the heart of a controversy for having uttered racist insults. A scandal that raises a problem in the country music industry.

He pleases as much as he disturbs. Unknown to the French public, Morgan Wallen has become a real star in the United States. Revealed in 2014 in the American edition of “The Voice”, then four years later with his first album “If I Knew Me”, the country singer from Tennessee is currently enjoying immense success across the Atlantic with his second album, ” Dangerous: The Double Album “. Released last January, the project has just spent its tenth consecutive week at the top of the Billboard 200, which allows it to enter the history of the US ranking. This is the third time that an album has spent its first ten weeks at the top of the charts, the previous two being, sorry, Stevie Wonder with “Songs in The Key of Life” in 1976 then Whitney Houston in 1987 with “Whitney”.

A huge box despite a big boycott

A success which is as impressive as it is surprising because for several weeks, Morgan Wallen has been at the heart of a huge controversy. In a video relayed on February 2 by TMZ, filmed by one of his neighbors, the singer can be heard, in a state of intoxication, uttering racist insults. While he quickly apologized, calling his attitude and language “unacceptable and inappropriate”, that was not enough. The day after the video was released, renowned country artists called for change in the industry, while hundreds of US radio stations decided to boycott his songs, as did the country television channel CMT. Even the Country Music Awards made him ineligible for the 56th edition of the ceremony, which will take place on April 18, 2021. As for his label Big Loud, he announced that his contract with Morgan Wallen was “suspended … indefinitely” and streaming platforms have removed his image from some playlists.

An industry in the throes of questioning

If a simple apology could have been enough to calm things down, this affair comes at a time of questioning for the world of country, as the Washington Post notes: “The world of country music wonders about its complicity in erasing the contribution of black artists and how to move forward when some people of color say they are afraid to go to country concerts because of Confederate flags sometimes waved by the crowd. If some Internet users say that Morgan Wallen does not represent the entirety of country music, several artists have disputed this assertion ”.

This is particularly the case of Mickey Guyton, one of the few black country artists to be signed to a big record company in Nashville. “When I read comments that say ‘This is not who we are’ I laugh because that is exactly what country music is. I have witnessed this for 10 years. You should read all the dastardly comments that come to me every day. It’s hard but it’s the truth, ”she writes, even though she doesn’t believe in“ cancel culture ”:“ We have to give people a chance to change. Morgan has to weigh the weight of his words, but “canceling” someone in this way is damaging to their sanity.

Morgan Wallen remains in the shadows since the controversy

The problem is that since the explosion of the controversy, Morgan Wallen has completely disappeared from the radar. For example, her last Instagram post was on February 11. And despite this scandal, his album continues to hit the charts, as evidenced by these 10 consecutive weeks spent at the first position of the American Top Albums. In addition, the day after the video was broadcast, its radio broadcasts fell by 70% while, paradoxically, its sales increased by 339%! The disc already has 1.2 million cumulative sales. According to Variety, this phenomenon is explained by two things: first, the lack of big pop albums, even if Justin Bieber’s, “Justice”, should take the first place, second, because “Dangerous : The Double Album “, well made, appeals to country fans and because of its 33 tracks, it is much more listened to than a classic country album of ten tracks.

The stage return of Morgan Wallen is also expected at the turn. According to Variety, the rumor of his coming to a country festival in Topeka, Kansas, which had angered some internet users, was nothing but fake news. On the singer’s official website, his next concert is scheduled for July 3 at the Tailgate N ‘Tallboys country festival, located in Peoria, Illinois. The article notes that the bosses of the Big Loud label have remained very silent since the scandal broke. “But there is no lack of opinions on what he should not do, that is to say come back with a good story of redemption and enough time elapsed to make him credible” one specifies nevertheless, explaining that it would be via radio that his return would be the most impactful. If the next statement from Morgan Wallen is therefore eagerly awaited, Variety wants to be firm: “Country radios, the media and its detractors agree on one thing: that he remains on the sidelines for the moment”.

United States: the disgrace of Morgan Wallen, king of country accused of racism

A superstar of a predominantly white musical genre, the singer has been suspended by his label and banned by numerous radio stations after being filmed uttering racist slurs. For the American press, the case comes as the country community questions its responsibility in erasing the contribution of black artists.

A superstar of a predominantly white musical genre, the singer has been suspended by his label and banned by numerous radio stations after being filmed uttering racist slurs. For the American press, the case comes as the country community questions its responsibility in erasing the contribution of black artists.

“Morgan Wallen, the most prominent music star in 2021, has suddenly disappeared from the radar,” says Variety. Country superstar, the 27-year-old singer was suspended “indefinitely” by his record company and banned from the airwaves by hundreds of US radio stations on Wednesday February 3 after being filmed using a racist expression .

Apple Music has removed it from its home page and Spotify from its playlist of the best country songs, adds the US magazine. Country television channel CMT and the Country Music Association have stopped broadcasting its music, and the Academy of Country Music has said Wallen will not be eligible for his next awards show, The Washington Post adds.

The pillorying came after the TMZ site posted a video on Tuesday February 2 of Wallen returning home with friends the previous weekend. “A neighbor, apparently annoyed by the noise, began to film the scene and caught Wallen uttering racist slurs,” explains The Washington Post.

An industry known for “putting problems under the rug”
Wallen, whose last album was number one on the Billboard 200 charts in the United States for the past three weeks, apologized quickly, saying he used “unacceptable and inappropriate” language.

The American daily notes that the withdrawal of its music from American radio stations – which are “the surest way to become a country music star” – is “unprecedented”.

The reaction from this music industry is all the more surprising given that country remains a “predominantly white” genre, known for “putting this kind of problem under the rug”.

For The Washington Post, at other times, the artist’s apology might have been enough. But this time “it’s different”:

Morgan Wallen’s racist remarks come as the country scene questions its responsibility for erasing the input of black artists. Country is also wondering how to react to people from visible minorities who are afraid to go to concerts because of the Confederate flags that are often there. ”

And the daily quotes Mickey Guyton, one of the few artists of color to have signed with a major Nashville label, who called for collective awareness on Twitter:
When I read comments that say ‘this doesn’t represent us’ I laugh, because that’s exactly what country music is. I have witnessed this for ten years. You should just read some of the dastardly comments that come to me on a daily basis. It’s a cold and hard truth to face, but it’s the truth. ”

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