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Morgan Wallen To Give First Awards Show Performance Since Scandal

4 May 2022 | 2:39 pm | Mallory Arbour

The 2022 Billboard Music Awards is set to air on Sunday, May 15 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Morgan Wallen

Morgan Wallen (Image: via Facebook)

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Morgan Wallen is set to perform at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards next week, marking his first performance at a major awards show since he was caught on camera using a racial slur.  

Last year, when Wallen was included among the BBMA finalists, producers emphasised that finalists are based on chart data and not chosen by a membership organization or voting committee.

BBMA producers said in 2021, “As his recent conduct does not align with our core values, we will not be including him on the show in any capacity (performing, presenting, accepting). It is heartening and encouraging to hear that Morgan is taking steps in his anti-racist journey and starting to do some meaningful work. We plan to evaluate his progress and will consider his participation in future shows.”

He went on to win three off-camera awards. This year, he’s up for four awards.

In a statement to Billboard, BBMA producer MRC Live & Alternative said that the decision to book Wallen to perform on the 2022 show came after extensive internal discussions between MRC and Wallen’s team, with a diverse group of MRC staffers highlighting Wallen’s commitment to self-improvement and better understanding of the issue and additional work.

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MRC state: “We oppose discrimination, harassment, or racism of any kind. We believe in treating everyone with dignity and respect. After a thorough review and robust discussions internally and with the artist’s team, in which we found a demonstrated and ongoing commitment to meaningful work and outreach, we extended an invitation to participate in this year’s show.”

Wallen was banned from performing at various awards shows – including the 2021 Billboard Music Awards – following the use of a racial slur leaked in February 2021. He was also "suspended indefinitely" by UMG label Big Loud / Republic and his music was dropped from radio as well as prominent playlists of Spotify and Apple Music. Wallen quickly issued a public apology where he claimed he was on a 72-hour bender and vouched to “do better.”

After a few months, he issued a further apology, stating he had taken a couple months away to “work on himself. He was later reinstated by his record label after a hiatus of four months. In May 2021, he returned to the stage for the first time since the controversy, performing at Kid Rock‘s Big Honky Tonky & Steakhouse bar in Nashville. His music also returned to country radio the following month and he later donated $500,000 to Black-led organisations.

Earlier this year, Wallen kicked off a North American tour in support of ‘Dangerous’, selling out dozens of dates on the run, with $3 from every ticket sold going to the More Than My Hometown Foundation. He also recently teamed with Lil Durk for Broadway Girls and Ernest for Flower Shops. The latter, the duo performed in January at the Grand Ole Opry, during Ernest’s debut. However, the milestone occasion was overshadowed by the controversial appearance of Wallen.

Wallen recently made history with Don’t Think Jesus, his first new solo music since his record breaking Dangerous: The Double Album. It topped Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, marking his fifth career #1, and drew over 18 million US streams within its first week of release.

The singer has additional music in the pipeline. He will release Thought You Should Know on May 6th, dedicated to his mother for Mother’s Day and will follow with Fool Proof on May 13th, his 29th birthday that he calls a “birthday present to myself” when teasing it on TikTok.

The 2022 Billboard Music Awards, hosted by Sean “Diddy” Combs, is set to air on Sunday, May 15 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Other performers set for the BBMAs include Megan Thee Stallion, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Florence + the Machine, Maxwell, Silk Sonic, Latto, Rau Alenjando, Burna Boy and Icon Award recipient, Mary J. Blige.

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Keep up to date with Morgan Wallen on his Facebook page here.