Morgan Wallen to perform at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards – The Hollywood Reporter
Morgan Wallen is set to perform at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas next month, marking his first performance at a major awards show since being caught on camera using a racial slur.
Wallen’s addition to the lineup comes a year after he was banned from the Billboard Music Awards amid backlash over a February 2021 video in which he could be heard shouting the N-word and other expletives.
Last year, when Wallen was included as a BBMA finalist, producers pointed out that finalists are based on chart data and not chosen by any membership organization or voting committee.
“As his recent conduct does not align with our core values, we will not include him on the show in any capacity (performance, presentation, acceptance),” BBMA producers said in 2021. “It is heartening and encouraging to “To hear that Morgan is taking action on her anti-racism journey and beginning to do meaningful work. We plan to assess her progress and will consider her participation in future shows.”
He went on to win three off-camera awards. This year, he is in the running for four awards.
BBMA producer MRC Live & Alternative said the decision to book Wallen to perform on the 2022 show came after lengthy internal discussions. “We oppose discrimination, harassment or racism of any kind,” the MRC said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. “We believe in treating everyone with dignity and respect. After extensive review and extensive discussions internally and with the artist team, in which we found a demonstrated and ongoing commitment to meaningful work and outreach, we have issued an invitation to participate in this year’s show .
Billboard reported, after consulting an internal memo, that the decision to invite Wallen to perform came after discussions between the MRC and Wallen’s team, a diverse group of MRC employees highlighting Wallen’s commitment to improve and better understand the problem and the extra work.
After a video of Wallen using the slur was released, he was suspended from his record label and dropped by agency WME, with iHeartMedia, SiriusXM and Pandora dropping his music from their platforms. The Academy of Country Music Awards also said it would “stop” Wallen’s “potential involvement and eligibility” for the 2021 awards cycle. However, Wallen won Album of the Year at the 2022 ACM Awards in March.
Wallen apologized for using the insult, saying he was on “hour 72 of a bender.”
“My words matter. My words can really hurt a person and deep down that’s not right for me,” he said days after the incident. circumstances are different for me to learn these things, but I’m also glad it started the process for me to do it. … Our actions matter. Our words matter. And I want to encourage everyone watching to learn from my mistake. There’s no reason to downplay what I did.
He later said that after the incident he checked himself into rehab and was “not sure” why he thought he could use the N-word and was “just ignorant at this subject”. He also had conversations with music industry executives about racism in the industry and pledged to donate $500,000 to charities.
The 2022 Billboard Music Awards, hosted by Sean “Diddy” Combs, will air live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 15 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock. Other artists scheduled for the BBMAs include Megan Thee Stallion, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Florence + the Machine, Maxwell, Silk Sonic and Icon Award winner Mary J. Blige.
The Billboard Music Awards ceremony is produced by MRC Live & Alternative, a division of MRC, co-owner of The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard through a joint venture with Penske Media called P-MRC.