Morgan Wallen made his first major concert appearance since he was filmed launching the N-word in February.
The country artist, 28, took the stage at Luke Bryan’s concert in Nashville, Tenn. On Friday night and joined Jason Aldean and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line and performed his records “Whiskey Glasses” and “More Than My Hometown ”before going on stage while Aldean sang“ She’s Country ”.
“A very good friend of mine is here backstage tonight,” Aldean told Bryan in bewilderment on stage. “I don’t know if you know that.”
“Do I need another shot of tequila to get over this?” Bryan joked.
It was then that the besieged Wallen waltzed down the narrow catwalk and greeted his fellow campaigners in front of a sold-out audience as he handed out shot glasses.
MORGAN WALLEN SAYS RACIAL SLUR PAST WAS ‘IGNORING’, EXPECTED AS ‘ENJOYING’ IN FIRST INTERVIEW AFTER THE SCANDAL
“Only in Nashville,” Aldean said.
Wallen then performed “Hometown”, touting the record as “a song about staying true to yourself,” adding, “It’s been a really tough thing for me lately, but here I am.”
The incident in question arises from a video taken by a neighbor of Wallen on February 2 in which he is heard telling someone to “take care of this … N-word” while he is dropped off at his home.
MORGAN WALLEN BREAKS A LONG MONTH OF SILENCE AFTER USING A RACIAL SLUR: “I REALLY WORKED ON MYSELF”
This then led to Wallen’s label Big Loud Records to suspend it and to conglomerates like iHeartRadio to remove its music from their stations.
After video of the Wallen incident was released online in February, he told Fox News in a statement, “I’m embarrassed and sorry.”
“I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial insult that I wish I could take back,” he continued. “There are never any excuses for using that kind of language. I sincerely want to apologize for using that word. I promise to do better.”
Speaking in a pre-recorded interview on “Good Morning America” that aired shortly after, host Michael Strahan asked Wallen what he thought of people who might think his interview was just another “performance”.
“I understand that I’m never going to make everyone happy. I can only speak my truth and that’s all I know how to do,” Wallen said.
Wallen admitted he had “partied all weekend” with “old friends”.
MORGAN WALLEN DROPPED BY TALENT AGENCY AMID RACIAL SLUR Drama
He went on to say that he and his friends “used to say stupid things together” and that it’s not an insult that he uses frequently.
“No, I don’t think that just happened. I was with some of my friends and we just say stupid stuff together. In our mind, it’s playful. It sounds ignorant but it really is where it comes from. that it comes, and it is wrong, “Wallen added. “We were all clearly drunk and I was asking his girlfriend to take care of him because he was drunk and was leaving. I didn’t mean to say it in a derogatory way at all.”
Strahan asked Wallen why he thought it was an “appropriate” word to ever use, to which the country crooner admitted he was “just ignorant about it”.
“I don’t think I’ve ever sat down thinking, ‘Hey, is that right or wrong?'” He said.
Wallen was widely condemned by several country artists, including Maren Morris and Mickey Guyton, after the video was released. Asked by Strahan if he thinks there is a racial problem in country music, he replied, “I mean, it would sound like that, yes. I didn’t really sit down and thought about it. “
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In April, the musician took to social media to post handwritten apology to fans and revealed he’ll be taking a hiatus this summer.
“I’ve felt a lot of love lately from so many people that I haven’t gotten to know yet,” Wallen began, thanking his fans who stood by his side. “I know my corner hasn’t been the most popular lately, but a lot of you have.”
Wallen argued he “made a few mistakes” in 2020 and called it a “tough year,” likely highlighting his arrest on public intoxication in May and disorderly conduct charges in September.
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The country star was also struck out as a “Saturday Night Live” performer after he was spotted partying at a bar without practicing social distancing days before his scheduled performance.
He went on to write that he “always strives to be better” and that his time away from the spotlight has not only helped him identify the ways he wants to improve, but also “reminded me that I’m still very proud of who I am and who I am becoming. “