The 2022 Billboard Music Awards may have welcomed country star Morgan Wallen back into the fold, but not everyone believes he should be forgiven for his 2021 N-word scandal.
Wallen, 29, gave his first awards show performance on Sunday night since getting caught on camera calling his friend the N-word, after stumbling home from a 72-hour bender in February of last year.
He performed “Don’t Think Jesus” – appropriately about a man who turns to God after partying too hard – with a four piece band, then transitioned into his smash hit “Wasted on You.”
“I think that kind of just speaks for my story — 10 years but especially the past couple. I feel like that song is really a big representation of a lot of things that I’ve been through and the attitude that I’ve approached it with,” Wallen said about “Don’t Think Jesus.”
Sean “Diddy” Combs, the show’s host, said that he wanted to bring “love and forgiveness” to Wallen and rapper Travis Scott, who has not performed at an awards show since the Astroworld Festival tragedy in November 2021.
“So one of the things I’m doing directly is uncanceling the canceled. That’s breaking news because people haven’t been about uncanceling. But canceling is a trend that needs to stop,” Combs remarked. “People make mistakes. Now we’re moving on with love and respect for everybody that was hurt or affected. It’s time to forgive.”
Not everyone agrees with Diddy’s sentiment. “If anybody would still like to talk about “cancel culture” I would direct them to turn on the Billboard Country Music awards where Morgan Wallen is currently performing,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Morgan Wallen just accepted the Billboard Award for best male country artist like no one even cares that he throw around the N-word like it’s no big deal. This country really dgaf about combating white supremacy,” added another.
“Wtf why is morgan wallen performing at the #BBMAs?!?!” One person questioned. “Is @billboard really supporting and promoting this racist pr–k?!?!?”
The awards show’s production company MRC Live & Alternative, which banned Wallen from performing last year, allowed his comeback after a “thorough review” that revealed “a demonstrated and ongoing commitment to meaningful work and outreach” on the singer’s part.
Wallen took home the award for Top Country Male Artist on Sunday.
— Billboard Music Awards (@BBMAs) May 16, 2022