Country singer Morgan Wallen announced he will be going on tour in 2022 after corporate America tried to cancel him, and it is welcome news to both country fans and those who still believe humans are imperfect.
It all started back in February, when Wallen was caught by TMZ saying the N-word. The slur was used with a group of his friends. Wallen said “we say dumb stuff together” and “in our minds it’s playful.” The artist was shortly after suspended by his record label and the two largest radio groups in America — iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media — took his songs off airplay.
More groups, such as Apple Music and Spotify, followed suit and got rid of his content. Matters escalated when the Country Music Association announced Wallen was ineligible for its individual awards and banned him from attending its awards ceremony. Fans put up billboards to show support for the artist, some of which referenced the Bible.
This all occurred on the heels of Wallen releasing a double album entitled “Dangerous” in January. An immediate hit, it continued to move up the charts amid the scandal, which the media would not let alone.
“Dangerous” hit no. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and stayed there for a shocking 10 consecutive weeks. As Billboard noted, “Dangerous [was] the first album to spend its first 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 since 1987, when Whitney Houston’s Whitney album logged all 11 of its weeks at No. 1 from its debut week.”
Wallen’s “Dangerous” is easily one of the strongest, most hit-studded country albums in years. From “Sand in My Boots” to “Silverado for Sale” to “Quittin’ Time,” fans are able to sense a guy who is still learning, developing, and getting over past failures. “Wallen has a penchant for making classic Nashville themes his own, adding dashes of winking self-awareness, aggrieved insecurity, and flirty playfulness to otherwise worn-out formulas,” Rolling Stone noted upon the album’s release.
As I wrote in February in a Federalist piece, the work in many ways prefigured his attempted celebrity cancellation. “Dangerous” is an honest glimpse into what it means to become famous so quickly and chronicles Wallen losing touch with his roots amid his climb to country music stardom. “Livin’ the Dream,” which concerns his discomfort with being in tabloids and drinking with different women in new cities each night, surely captures his dejected, insecure state.
A Broader Cancel Culture
The artist apologized several times for his February remarks, but there was no way to appease the woke mob. He essentially went into hiding — until now, it seems. Fresh off being nominated for album of the year at the Country Music Association Awards last week, Wallen surprised fans by announcing a 46-city tour beginning on Feb. 3. It will conclude on Sept. 24 in Los Angeles.
Here we come.
Pre-sale for the first half of the tour will be tomorrow 11/16 – Text 865-351-6290 to receive the code
*On-sale differs so make sure to check when tickets go on sale in your market pic.twitter.com/ygjHXn0sSh
— morgan wallen (@MorganWallen) November 15, 2021
While Nashville — the corporate heartbeat of the country music industry — coordinated to try and destroy the 28-year-old’s career, it evidently failed. However, Wallen is still prohibited from going to the American Music Awards ceremony next week. This is only the latest sign that executives remain out of touch with the fan base, which understands people make mistakes and have the autonomy to rectify them.
Still, executives and others running Nashville hum to a different tune. Wallen may line their pockets, but like the rest of corporate America in the 21st century, they are intensely focused on political correctness and perfection.
By their standards, humans can never violate their unreasonable ethical code. If they do, consequences will follow, often resulting in de-platforming or at least attempted de-platforming. Wallen seems to have luckily fallen in the latter category, as celebrities do, given that it is easier to cancel normal people than those with significant financial resources.
It does not end with Wallen, of course. Whether it be Dave Chappelle, Gina Carano, or Jon Gruden, the mob continues to circle. It surrounds and takes to social media — and corporate America takes note.
The recipient faces varying levels of consequences for not fitting the crooked societal mold. “The result is an environment in which only one position on questions of enormous consequence is accepted in polite society,” noted Emily Jashinsky last month in an article titled “Is Cancel Culture Literally Killing Us?”
While Wallen’s music is back on country radio — notwithstanding the many stations unbeholden to Nashville that never actually pulled his content — he is not out of the woods with his label. William Morris Endeavor (WME) took him off its roster after his N-word leak, but Wallen has gotten around matters by relying on WME agent Austin Neal to book shows for him “as a friend,” according to Billboard, “and not as part of a professional capacity with WME.” The loophole has proved to be vital and it continues to be shocking Neal has not faced repercussions from WME as well.
Wallen’s tour announcement is a feel-good story. It’s a sign that fans, not immoral executives, can tip the scales far more than elites would like. This ought to scare the laptop class in Nashville, which does not represent the millions of country music fans unwilling to shun a 28-year-old who made one blunder.
Most of all, Wallen’s situation illustrates a simple fact: Good music resonates with people and the mob is not stronger than the crowd.