In a recent interview with People Magazine, inaugural CMT Equal Play Award winner Jennifer Nettles describes how a year after receiving the honor from CMT -- and after her renowned incident at the CMA Awards advocating for country radio to play more songs from female artists-- representation is still not ideal.
On the red carpet of the 2019 CMA Awards, Sugarland vocalist Nettles made a statement about the lack of representation for female artists on country radio by wearing a cape printed with a drawing of a woman's face, the female gender symbol, and the words "equal play" and "Play our f*@#!g records please & thank you" on the awards program's red carpet. She also penned an essay for Glamour about her red carpet statement. This sparked CMT to implement equal play initiatives, including the Equal Play Award that Nettles won in October 2020.
Regarding the issue at present, Nettles told People that it was "disheartening at best," and that women are missing out on "the opportunity to share our story and our very unique and rich and beautiful perspectives on the world." She also named Kelsea Ballerini, Ashley McBryde, Brandy Clark, Brandi Carlile, Cam, and Mickey Guyton as deserving of greater airtime on country music's airwaves.
Her final note offered cautious hope for the future:
"I really hope that women continue to gain support and visibility within the community. I hope that radio and the streamers will catch on. I would love to see more female voices represented and celebrated within the format. I hope that not only will the women that we have currently in the music industry be successful, but that those doors will be opened in such a way that we can have even more of them."