Shania Twain called for “all-inclusive country music” as she took home the Equal Play Award at the CMT Music Awards 2023.
The country pop legend gave an empowering speech at the ceremony at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, on Sunday (02.04.23), in which she slammed the “industry standard” for doing “a real disservice” to the “rich history” of the genre.
She began her speech by noting that she never imagined her 1997 classic ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman’ would become “an undercurrent of a decades-long career.”
The 57-year-old star went on: “It’s amazing how just one statement can empower so many. And ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman’ has been adopted by an array of fantastic communities all around the world and become such a genuine path of power, which brings me so much joy.
“Thank you to CMT for pushing the Equal Play agenda and always supporting me.”
The ‘You’re Still the One’ hitmaker insists there is still much work to be done for there to be an “equal workspace for all talent” no matter what their background.
She continued: “I believe in an all-inclusive country music.
“This is a genre of music with a rich history that raised and nurtured my own songwriting and performance and recording career from childhood. Currently, the industry standard does a real disservice to this.”
Shania is bringing out rising stars such as Hailey Whitters and Robyn Ottolini on her ‘Queen of Me’ tour and vowed to continue to be a “trailblazer”.
She added: “My hope is this opportunity and spotlight impresses you much and lights up the careers of these very talented people on their journey.
“I will continue to do my best as a trailblazer. Together, let’s ensure all our fellow artists get equal play regardless of gender, age, or race.”
The bash, which was hosted by Kane Brown and Kelsea Ballerini, saw the former make history as he and his wife, Katelyn, became the first married Couple to win Video of the Year for ‘Thank God’.
Jelly Roll – whose real name is Jason DeFord – was the most awarded act of the night, taking home all three of the prizes he was nominated for.
The 38-year-old star’s popular track ‘Son Of A Sinner’ won Male Video of the Year, Breakthrough Male Video of the Year and CMT Digital-First Performance of the Year.
He also took to the stage backed by a gospel choir for an electrifying performance of ‘Need a Favor’.
The CMT winners list:
CMT Equal Play Award
Video of the Year
Katelyn Brown and Kane Brown – ‘Thank God’
Female Video of the Year
Lainey Wilson – ‘Heart Like a Truck’
Male Video of the Year
Jelly Roll – ‘Son Of A Sinner’
Group / Duo Video of the Year
Zac Brown Band – ‘Out In The Middle’
Breakthrough Female Video of the Year
Megan Moroney – ‘Tennessee Orange’
Breakthrough Male Video of the Year
Jelly Roll – ‘Son of a Sinner’
Collaborative Video of the Year
HARDY feat. Lainey Wilson – ‘Wait in the Truck’
CMT Performance of the Year
Cody Johnson – ‘Til You Can’t’ (from 2022 CMT Music Awards)
CMT Digital-First Performance of the Year
Jelly Roll – ‘Son of A Sinner’ (from CMT All Access)