Jennifer Nettles Was Honored for Fighting for Women in Country Music

"We have more to do as soon as we can, and I can't wait to do it alongside you, holding your hands"

Jennifer Nettles is getting some hard-earned recognition for her fight for women in the country music industry. Last night at the 2020 CMT Music Awards, the Sugarland singer was presented with the first-ever Equal Play award, which recognizes Nettles’ ongoing advocacy to get women’s albums heard on country music radio stations the same amount as their male counterparts. Nettles has pioneered the path for Equal Play, and last night, she received a well-deserved round of applause from her peers.

After a moving tribute video in which fellow country stars Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, and Sheryl Crow expressed their gratitude for Nettles’ dedication to Equal Play, 2020 CMT Music Awards host Sarah Hyland presented Nettles with the award. The star thanked Hyland, made a joke about applying eyeshadow for the first time in a long time just for the virtual show (#relatable), and continued with a heartfelt speech.

Thank you to all the fans, and especially my artists, my sisters out there who continue to burn the holy fire, Nettles said.

“I am so proud to be a part of this legacy of women in country music with you, and I am so proud of the stories that we tell,” she continued. “We have more to do as soon as we can, and I can’t wait to do it alongside you, holding your hands. Thank you so very much.”

Last year, at the 2019 CMA Awards, Nettles made a bold statement when she wore a power suit and cape on the red carpet that read, “Play our f*@#!N records, please and thank you.”

jennifer nettles CMT awards

The singer’s pink and white ensemble was the talk of the night—and sent a clear message to country music radio: They need to step up their game. In response, in January 2020 CMT committed to a 50/50 split in airtime for women and men country artists.

Since then, Nettles has continued to lead the fight for Equal Play and work toward women representation in the music industry. We’re so happy Nettles was given the recognition she deserves for fighting this important fight.

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