Kacey Musgraves' work within the LGBTQ+ community has not gone unnoticed. Come April 2, the hitmaker will receive the Vanguard Award at the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles.
“From speaking out against anti-LGBTQ legislation in her home state of Texas to raising awareness about bullying affecting LGBTQ youth, to uplifting the work of LGBTQ artists, Kacey continues to raise the bar for what it means to be an authentic ally and to inspire her fans to do the same,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a previous statement.
The advocate will join the likes of previous honorees – Beyoncé and JAY-Z, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Kerry Washington, Cher, Janet Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Patricia Arquette, and Antonio Banderas.
To celebrate the great honor, CMT is taking a look back in time to when Kacey Musgraves fearless displayed her love and support for the community.
Musgraves released LGBTQ anthem "Follow Your Arrow"
During her career, she sparked a difficult conversation around homosexuality and revealed that she became an ally later in life. It was her small-town upbringing in Texas that kept her closed-minded.
"I've not always been the "Follow Your Arrow" girl. It's embarrassing to admit but I wasn't always so open-minded. Growing up in rural East Texas, I can count on only a few fingers the amount of interactions I had with anyone gay throughout my entire childhood and most of which was clouded by closed-minded viewpoints and sneers. I love where I came from, but the stance on homosexuality is unfortunately still pretty archaic and behind the facts," the hitmaker told Billboard in 2017.
Now, the country music powerhouse frequently expresses her love and support for the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, it was her call for unity and self-expression in the single "Follow Your Arrow" that took her music career to new heights. It was how Musgraves delivered the hard-hitting message that captured the attention of country music fans. At the time, the topic was considered "taboo" or even controversial in the honky tonk space, but Musgraves was not afraid to take a stance.
"Say what you think | Love who you love | 'Cause you just get so many trips 'round the sun | Yeah, you only |Only live once | So make lots of noise |Kiss lots of boys | Or kiss lots of girls | If that's what you're into," she sings loud and proud.
The anthem that encourages listeners to be their authentic selves lives on her major-label debut record, "Same Trailer, Different Park." Musgraves performed the chill-provoking track at the 56th annual Grammy Awards, where she received Best Country Song for "Merry Go 'Round." Although the risk-taker had a Grammy win under her belt, "Follow Your Arrow" still ranked poorly on the country radio chart.
Musgraves frequently pushes for inclusivity in country music
Throughout the years, there has been a lack of acceptance and inclusion when it comes to queer musicians trying to break into the industry. In 2010, country music star, Chely Wright, received backlash and a decrease in album sales after coming out of the closet. Brooke Eden was told to not go public with her fiancé Hilary Hoover, and T.J. Osborne kept his sexual preferences under the radar for years to avoid taking a massive career risk. While Musgraves may not be a member of the community, she strives to make the country music genre a safe space for everyone – leaving her to stress her initiative and vision.
At the 2018 New Yorker Festival, Musgraves was praised for being a "gay icon" by a fan. While accepting the kind title, the singer-songwriter did not hold back and spoke from the heart.
“It’s crazy that a certain kind of a person could feel excluded from a genre that’s so real — or supposed to be so real. That has always really pissed me off. Because I love the genre so much, she said.
Most recently, the multi-platinum artist told Country Heat Weekly co-hosts Kelly Sutton and Amber Anderson that the industry still has a long way to go, but until she sees a tremendous shift – she will create a welcoming environment for all.
“I just feel like one thing that I’ve been really happy about is that people feel like they’re invited to a party that they may not have felt invited to before,” confessed the singer about her Star-Crossed: Unveiled Tour.
Musgraves dropped love-letter single, “Rainbow”
The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter penned “Rainbow” alongside Shane McAnally and Natalie Hemby. The soul-touching tribute is from her third studio album, “Golden Hour,” and serves as a love letter to the LGBTQ+ community.
“For a long time, that was a really hard one to hear, but I thought that it fit really nicely on the record,” the hitmaker told Taste of Country. “It turned into a song as a little message to myself, and then ended up being a song for anybody with any kind of weight on their shoulders.”
Upon release, “Rainbow” became an empowering anthem for those struggling with acceptance or feeling like an outcast. She told the outlet that she hopes fans within the LGBTQ+ community find comfort within the moving melody.
“I feel a kindship and a friendship with that community,” she gushed. “They really opened my eyes up to a lot of different things that I wasn’t aware of growing up in a small town in Texas. I will always be an ally and a strong supporter,” she added.
Musgraves supports and works alongside queer musicians.
The trailblazer has never shied away from incorporating LGBTQ+ friends into her projects. For instance, the country-pop artist called in King Princess and electro trio MUNA to help start the party on her 2022 tour. The two queer acts are known for having a loyal LGBTQ+ following. Musgraves also worked alongside gay singer and songwriter Shane McAnally on albums “Same Trailer, Different Park” and “Pageant Material.” Musgraves also penned “Follow Your Arrow” with Brandy Clark.
Musgraves Performed At The GLAAD Media Awards In 2014
In 2014 Kacey Musgraves made history at The GLAAD Media Awards, as she became the first country artist to perform at the event. Musgraves was asked to attend the affair because the organization labeled her a "progressive artist." During her groundbreaking performance – she thanked the community for embracing her music, but pointed out that she was disappointed to be considered as "progressive" in the 21st century.
"The fact that I'm considered progressive in this day and age is kind of sad to me," the beloved musician shared. "I'm not. I'm just writing and singing about things that inspire me and inspire a lot of people. Country music, especially, is supposedly a genre where you talk about real life, real things. I don't think it should be considered that crazy."