The Grand Ole Opry has been hit with serious backlash this week after allowing the controversial country music star Morgan Wallen to give a surprise performance there over the weekend.
Wallen Performs At Grand Ole Opry
Wallen has been a target of cancel culture for over a year, ever since he was caught on camera saying the N-word after a night out with friends. Despite the controversy, Wallen was one of the best-selling artists of 2021.
Fox News  reported that a tweet from the Grand Ole Opry about Wallen performing there last Saturday was met with backlash from a wide range of performers like Joy Oladokun and Grammy winner Jason Isbell.
— Grand Ole Opry (@opry) January 9, 2022 
Grand Ole Opry Hit With Backlash
The Grand Old Opry’s Twitter feed was inundated with fierce backlash to his appearance. The Opry’s Twitter has remained silent other than the above tweet.
“Morgan Wallen’s thoughtless redemption tour is the nail in the coffin of me realizing these systems and this town is not really for us,” wrote Oladokun.
morgan wallen’s thoughtless redemption tour is the nail in the coffin of me realizing these systems, and this town is really not for us.
imma keep making my lil music in my attic, y’all can listen if you want. i don’t know that i’ll do this work forever.
— Joy Oladokun (@joyoladokun) January 9, 2022 
“The thing that really upsets me is bigger than one person’s words,” Isbell tweeted. “It’s the idea of a young Black artist walking into that venue and wondering if ANYBODY is on their side. What a lot of us consider to be a grand ole honor can be terrifying for some. Doesn’t have to be that way.”
The thing that really upsets me is bigger than one person’s words. It’s the idea of a young Black artist walking into that venue and wondering if ANYBODY is on their side. What a lot of us consider to be a grand ole honor can be terrifying for some. Doesn’t have to be that way. https://t.co/pxtSQjimoG 
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) January 9, 2022 
Black Opry Responds
Last year, writer Holly G launched a blog called the Black Opry  with the goal of giving black artists and fans a home. She recently met with the Opry’s talent director to pitch hosting a show next month for Black History Month. However, she was told that they were very selective about who appears on their stage.
After Wallen’s appearance last weekend, Holly G wrote a letter  to the Opry asking for an explanation about why he was allowed to perform, given what he did.
“They have figured out they can invite a few Black performers to the stage and give them debuts and that will quiet or calm people down for a little bit,” she told the media. “But if you look at the structural set up for the institution, nothing has changed. They have two Black members over the entire history of the institution.”
Holly G said that she has yet to receive a response from The Opry, which also did not respond to requests from the press for a comment.
Grand Ole Opry Legitimizes Artists
Charles Hughes, a professor at Rhodes College in Memphis and author of “Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South,” said that the issue with Wallen being allowed to perform is that The Opry legitimizes artists. He describes his performance as a “wayward white artist” being welcomed back into the family.
“The narrative of reconciliation is a really powerful one… and reconciliation without any reckoning, real reckoning, can actually end up worse,” said Hughes. “’Cause if you don’t address the problem, you just sort of act like it didn’t happen.”
Wallen has been apologetic about his N-word debacle from the very beginning. He’s made amends, yet cancel culture still hasn’t forgiven him. What he did was wrong, and he would be the first to admit that.
Is it time to allow him to move on with both his life and career in peace? Sound off in the comments.