One fan-funded Morgan Wallen billboard has appeared in Los Angeles on Monday, May 17, just 6 days ahead of the 2021 Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs).
Wallen is finalist nominated for 6 BBMAs, including for Top Song Sales Artist, Top Country Artist, Top Country Male Artist, Top Country Album and Top Country Song (x2). However, according to a recent statement by Dick Clark Productions (DCP), the BBMAs will “not be including him [Wallen] on the show in any capacity (performing, presenting, accepting),” despite his 6 nods.
DCP did confirm that they are happy to hear that Wallen striving to do better for himself and that they will consider his participation within future events.
“It is heartening and encouraging to hear that Morgan is taking steps in his anti-racist journey and starting to do some meaningful work,” a statement from DCP reads. “We plan to evaluate his progress and will consider his participation in future shows.”
According to a fan named Darleen Ingram who contacted Music Mayhem, a group of Morgan Wallen supporters rallied together to raise funds for a billboard to support the East Tennessee native following the backlash that he has faced since a video of him using a racial slur surfaced online in early February. The fans set out to make a statement towards both cancel culture and the Billboard Music Awards for not allowing his participation in any capacity, including the BBMAs use of putting Wallen in a blue box on their website that lists the nominees, rather then his own image.
“Behind that blue box is a human being,” Ingram explained to Music Mayhem. “A living, breathing, human being. He has feelings just the same as you and I do, so to represent him as a “blue box” is degrading and uncalled for.”
While fans say they hold Wallen accountable for his actions, they also believe in forgiveness and moving forward from a situation. So, when fans saw that Wallen was put in the aforementioned blue box, they felt a billboard was needed to make a statement against that. They immediately began fan-funding for the billboard via Facebook groups.
“Keep it simple but yet be firm and transparent about who and what it represents,” Ingram added. “So a blue background with a mullet, guitar, and his infamous word #GAHT. That speaks volumes.”
“Cancel Culture needs to see that Morgan’s fans aren’t going anywhere,” Ingram continued. “We’re here to stay just like him. It’s time that either everyone endures the same consequences or no one does. We the fans plan to continue standing up to cancel culture. We’re not backing down. And we’re not the type that you can toss a few bread crumbs and we will back off. We stand firm in our belief of forgiveness IS REAL. When did it become ok for Billboard or any other identity to fault to bullying? Choosing a blue box is just that, bullying. Isn’t that what’s wrong with America today? Bullies? #ISTANDWITHMORGANWALLEN.”
The billboard popped up in Los Angeles just days before the 2021 Billboard Music Awards where organizers previously said “his recent conduct does not align with our core values,” following his use of the racial slur earlier this year. It features a mullet silhouette on the left side with Wallen’s signature word “GAHT” in the form of a hashtag in the center on a blue background with an acoustic guitar on the right side.
The fan-funded Billboard appears at the Microsoft Theatre exit on I-5 Freeway.
The same group of fans previously rallied together to crowd-fund six Billboards in Nashville ahead of the 2021 ACM Awards, in which the award show banned Wallen’s “involvement and eligibility.”
In addition the Nashville Billboards in April and the current Los Angeles Billboard’s, the fans are also planning to fund a billboard that will be built in Wallen’s hometown of Sneedville, Tennessee with the remaining funds that were raised throughout social media. The Sneedville billboard will become a permanent fixture in Wallen’s hometown, marking the first-ever billboard built in the area.
The billboard, which was purchased via Lamar Advertising, will run through Monday, May 24, the day after the BBMAs.
2021 Billboard Music Awards are set to air on Sunday, May 23 at 8/7c on NBC.
This article was published solely for news purposes only and does not reflect views or opinions of Music Mayhem or its staff.