As his fans know, Wallen — who won best new artist at the 2020 CMA Awards — not only lost; he was banned from even attending the ceremony, making him the only album of the year nominee not to perform. Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album, which was the most-consumed album through mid-2021 according to MRC Data, was up against Carly Pearce’s 29, Eric Church’s Heart, Brothers Osborne’s Skeletons and the night’s winner, Chris Stapleton’s Starting Over.
Ever since video footage of Wallen using a racial slur surfaced in February, awards shows have wrestled with how to deal with Wallen. Some, including the Academy of Country Music Awards, declared him ineligible. The CMAs ruled that he wasn’t eligible for any solo awards, such as male artist of the year or entertainer of the year, but his collaborative works were eligible.
Wallen’s tweet was his first comment to address — no matter how obliquely — his CMA banishment. Though he was dropped by his booking agency, WME, Wallen has recently returned to the road, filling arenas in the south, with a full 2022 arena tour slated to be announced shortly.