The singer/songwriter’s manager, Seth England, clarified his contributions to various Black groups to USA TODAY on Wednesday following a report from Rolling Stone that questioned whether Wallen followed through with his philanthropic pledge.
The publication alleged that “the money seems largely M.I.A.” after it claimed to contact 56 Black-led or Black-founded charities at the state, regional and national levels. The report stated that it was “unclear if Wallen actually donated” to any other organization aside from BMAC, who told Rolling Stone it did receive “some money” from Wallen, however the $500,000 donation amount “seems exceptionally misleading.”
England confirmed in a statement to USA TODAY, as well as records documenting his contributions, “$300,000 to BMAC in the names of 20 individuals who had counseled him following the incident when he uttered the N-word during a night of partying. Those individuals were given the option to funnel their respective $15,000 donations to a charity of their choice, or keep the money within BMAC.”
$165,000 of the pledged funds to BMAC stayed within the organization. According to documents reviewed by USA TODAY, “the remaining $135,000 was distributed to several smaller charities of the individuals’ choice.”
Young People’s Chorus of New York City, Teen Dream Center, Beatrice W. Welters Breast Health Outreach & Navigation Program, Right Hand Foundation were among the smaller charities that the 20 individuals chose to donate to.
The remaining funds ($100,000) from the $500,000 pledge by Wallen will be distributed to Black-led organizations in Tennessee by the end of 2021, according to England.
Wallen’s label and management team shared that the singer/songwriter has made strides to educate and better himself since his use of the racial slur earlier this year.
“We’ve been a part of Morgan’s life for over five years and are grateful to have gotten to know him and his heart. We know who he is and who he is striving to be. We’re seeing the work that he is putting in and are confident in the steps that he is taking,” said Big Loud partners Craig Wiseman, Joey Moi and England in an exclusive statement to USA TODAY.
Wallen’s promise to donate to various Black organizations came in July when he appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America to discuss his use of the racial slur.
“Before this incident, my album was already doing well,” Wallen said. “It was already being well-received by critics and by fans. Me and my team noticed that whenever this whole incident happened that there was a spike in my sales. So we tried to calculate what the number of — how much it actually spiked from this incident.”
When totaling the increase in sales, it was determined to be “somewhere around $500,000.”
.@ABC NEWS EXCLUSIVE: @MorganWallen reveals to @michaelstrahan he spent 30 days in rehab following the incident and he says he donated the money from his spike in album sales to Black organizations. https://t.co/PXMd3zA5En pic.twitter.com/BAZI4uFXXf
Rolling Stone has since corrected its story with new details about Wallen’s donations.
Additionally, Wallen’s label Big Loud Records donated $100,000 on behalf of the East Tennessee native to Rock Against Racism, according to the non-profit’s founder, Cory Brennan. The donated funds will go toward “education and action plans for the organization,” Brennan said.
Rock Against Racism “is a non-profit organization consisting of a collective of musicians, artists, and music industry leaders continuing the crucial work of combating systemic racism.”
Earlier this month, the “Wasted On You” singer returned to the stage for his first official headlining performance in quite some time.
The concert, which raised over $725,000 for The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the Tennessee Emergency Response Fund, dubbed Morgan Wallen & Friends, supported those impacted by the recent devastation in Middle Tennessee cause by flooding. Wallen was joined by Dierks Bentley, HARDY, Cole Swindell, Lainey Wilson, Josh Thompson, ERNEST, Ben Burgess, Jared Mullins and Lathan Warlick at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works for the sold-out benefit show.
Additionally, Wallen’s latest project, Dangerous: The Double Album, was recently nominated for CMA Album Of The Year at the 2021 CMA Awards. The nomination came despite being ineligible to receive nominations in individual CMA Awards categories, including Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year.
He has also been added back into rotation at Country Radio with his current chart-climbing single “Sand In My Boots,” a song that appears on his record-breaking double album.