Country Music Has ‘Room to Grow’ With Diversity


Ready for change. Maren Morris got real about the disparity of race among country music singers and how she thinks the community can improve.

“I just feel like country music as a genre — we all have so much room to grow, myself included — but I think country music definitely is stepping up to the plate slowly but surely,” the Grammy winner, 30, explained during her Thursday, March 11, appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, noting that she has “been doing so much of my own homework the last couple of years” in terms of diversity issues.

Maren Morris on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Warner Bros.

Morris then detailed the difficulties Black women face in the industry. “I’m a white woman in country music. I already sort of have this leg up, and even though there’s a huge disparity of men and women in our genre, there’s even more of a disparity between white women and Black women trying to be in country music,” she elaborated. “There’s so many Black women and men who adore country music and don’t feel the door is open for them even a crack.”

Maren Morris: Country Music Has ‘So Much Room to Grow’ With Diversity
Maren Morris. Josh Brasted/Country Music Association Inc/Shutterstock

The “Bones” songstress acknowledged that her outspokenness on such topics has created backlash, but she is unbothered by the noise. “You’re always going to have people that wanna come for you if you say something unpopular to them or their groupthink for the second. For me, I just have to think about my son and the people in my circle going forward — who I write with, who I employ — and think, am I making room for everybody?” she said. “I don’t care if someone on TikTok thinks I suck. It’s not really my issue. I think I just want to exist in a genre that is working to be better.”

Morris, who shares 11-month-old son Hayes with husband Ryan Hurd, was one of the first country stars to call out Morgan Wallen after the February release of a video that showed him using the N-word. “It actually IS representative of our town because this isn’t his first ‘scuffle’ and he just demolished a huge streaming record last month regardless. We all know it wasn’t his first time using that word,” she tweeted at the time. “We keep them rich and protected at all costs with no recourse.”

Wallen, 27, apologized in a February statement to TMZ, saying he “used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back” and promised “to do better.” He was later suspended by his record label and dropped by radio stations and streaming services.

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