Margo Price at the Grand Ole Opry: ‘There Is No Place for Sexism, Racism in This Music’
Onstage at the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night (July 11), Margo Price spoke her feelings about the Black Lives Matter movement and the need for country music to eradicate both racism and sexism from its community.
Before her final song, Price thanked the Opry and its staff for explicitly stating that Black lives matter in recent weeks, as the United States has grappled with its history of racism and inequality in the wake of multiple deaths of Black men and women at the hands of white police officers. "I think it's so important," Price said -- but she also issued a challenge:
"I hope that we can continue to go one step further in so many of these Nashville institutions and support the voices of our Black brothers and sisters when they need it most," Price added. "Lady Antebellum has had a platform here. I think it would be really wonderful if y'all invited Anita White -- the real Lady A -- here to come and sing."
In early June, country trio Lady Antebellum announced that they would be changing their name to Lady A, an often-used nickname for the group, in light of the word's connection to slavery. However, shortly thereafter, a blues artist named Anita White was interviewed by Rolling Stone, expressing disgust not only that they moved forward without consulting her, but that they appropriated the name of a Black performer in what she says is a PR move geared toward showing solidarity with the Black community after the death of George Floyd.
On June 15, both Lady As shared on social media that they had met via video chat to work through their issues. Talks between the two camps broke down, though, with the country group recently filing a lawsuit against White that asks the court to affirm their right to use the moniker, after White asked them for $10 million, half to help her rebrand herself after more than two decades as Lady A and half to donate to Black-focused charities.
"Country music owes such a great deal of what we have to Black artists and Black music," Price concluded from the Opry stage, "and there is no place for sexism, racism in this music."
In addition to Price, Saturday night's Grand Ole Opry lineup featured the Gatlin Brothers and Jimmie Allen. The Opry's 4,932nd consecutive Saturday night broadcast, the show took place at the Opry House in Nashville, without a live audience present, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Fans were able to tune in on local radio, satellite radio and TV instead.
Price released her newest album, That's How Rumors Get Started, on Friday (July 10).