Jennifer Nettles to Be Honored with CMT Equal Play Award

"There Is Much Work Still to Be Done," Nettles Says

On Wednesday night (Oct. 21) at the 2020 CMT Music Awards, Jennifer Nettles will be honored with the very first CMT Equal Play Award.

The award will recognize Nettles’ ongoing advocacy for women and for all diverse voices in the music industry, as she works to have more female voices heard on country music radio stations, to reach a point where men and women are represented equally.

Who could forget the literal fashion statement Nettles made at the 2019 CMA Awards?

Taylor Hill

Nettles’ outspokenness has exposed the gender disparity on country radio and on music streaming services, which has made her one of the genre’s best champions. What she is striving for — major changes in female representation in country music — is what country artists and fans all want.

“Jennifer Nettles is that rare artist who speaks her truth, calling out injustice wherever she sees it,” said Leslie Fram, Senior Vice President of Music and Talent at CMT. “Her commitment to equal female representation across the board in the music industry embodies the spirit of our Equal Play Initiative and makes her the perfect recipient of the inaugural CMT Equal Play Award.”

CMT has partnered with Pluto TV to launch a pop-up channel called CMT Equal Play. It will offer country music videos 24/7, with an equal male/female playlist. It’s a move that Fram says will allow CMT to further the commitment to equal play.

“As a proud part of the beautiful legacy of women in country music, I am honored to be the first recipient of the CMT Equal Play Award,” Nettles said. “I look forward to celebrating the contributions of women, and all marginalized communities, within the country music format, and I am motivated in encouraging the non-artists, executives and investors in the industry, to do the same.

“There is much work still to be done.”

In addition to her massive success as one half of the country duo Sugarland, a band that jumped to the front of the line with their 2004 debut single “Baby Girl,” Nettles started to release music as a solo female artist ten years after that. In other words, she’s been there, and she knows what kind of sexism female solo artists are up against.

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