Morgan Wallen is set to play at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards this month following his ban from last year’s awards due to footage that emerged showing him using a racial slur.
Back in February 2021, a video circulated that showed Wallen yelling the N-word and other expletives outside his home in Nashville. Wallen was subsequently dropped from that year’s Country Music Awards, American Music Awards and the Billboard Music Awards, as well as multiple brands and his music was pulled off multiple radio stations.
His return to the 2022 Billboard Music Awards – which will be his first awards performance since the racial slur – will take place on May 15th at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The decision to include Wallen in the event was made by global entertainment company MRC.
“We oppose discrimination, harassment, or racism of any kind. We believe in treating everyone with dignity and respect,” MRC told Billboard.
“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.”
A memo reviewed by Billboard allegedly revealed further details. “Born out of our racial equity work at MRC, a team led by diverse colleagues created an internal process to review if our content aligns with our stated diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives. We ran this process last year with regard to Mr. Wallen, and again this year which resulted in a different decision,” it said. But the team’s recent research on the artist “found that there were meaningful and significant efforts toward understanding and redemption, as well as an ongoing commitment to additional work.”
Wallen apologised for the offensive footage shortly after it went viral.
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“I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back,” Wallen said in a statement at the time. “There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologise for using the word. I promise to do better.”
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