Despite his controversy last year over a video in which he used a racial slur, Morgan Wallen is among the recipients of special awards handed out by the Academy of Country Music, it was announced today.
The country musician, who faced numerous career consequences and saw his “involvement and eligibility” for the 2021 ACM Awards halted after a video surfaced in February 2021 of him yelling the N-word and other expletives, is set to receive the ACM Milestone Award, recognizing unprecedented or outstanding achievement in the field of country music during the last calendar year. The award, continuing a comeback for Wallen in recent months, honors the contributions of Gene Weed, who directed and produced the ACM Awards for more than 30 years.
Wallen’s latest album, Dangerous: The Double Album, topped the charts, spending 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and 60 weeks in the top 10, with more than four million copies sold. Dangerous was also named album of the year at the 2022 ACM Awards in March and Wallen performed on and received the country male artist of the year award at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards. Wallen had been banned from the 2021 Billboard Music Awards after his controversial video surfaced. He was also suspended from his record label and dropped by agency WME, with iHeartMedia, SiriusXM and Pandora dropping his music from their platforms.
Past recipients of the ACM Milestone Award include Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Willie Nelson, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.
Elsewhere, hit Paramount TV show Yellowstone will receive the ACM Film Award, recognizing a movie or series from the past year that prominently features country music.
Past recipients of the film award, which honors the contributions of actor-musician Tex Ritter, include A Star Is Born, Country Strong, Crazy Heart, Nashville, Walk the Line and O, Brother, Where Art Thou.
Miranda Lambert will receive the Triple Crown Award after winning ACM Top New Female Vocalist, Female Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year over the course of her career, receiving the final award at the 2022 ACM Awards. Only seven other artists have received the Triple Crown Award: Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Mickey Gilley, Merle Haggard, Barbara Mandrell and Underwood.
Chris Stapleton will receive the ACM Spirit Award, given to a singer-songwriter who is continuing Haggard’s legacy by following his or her own path, crafting great songs and epitomizing Haggard’s spirit through performances and storytelling. Shania Twain and Sonny Throckmorton will receive the ACM Poet’s Award, given to a songwriter for their contributions throughout their career, recognizing in part a song or song’s impact on the culture of country music.
Late ASCAP executive Connie Bradley will receive the ACM Icon Award, given to an artist or leader who has advanced the popularity of the genre through their work. ACM Lifting Lives board members Paul Barnabee and Dwight Wiles will receive the Lifting Lives award. And business manager Duane Clark will receive the ACM Service Award.
“ACM Honors is truly a special and unique night as the entire Country Music community comes together to celebrate the achievements of artists, musicians, and industry executives that have made a positive impact on the industry during the prior year or over their careers,” ACM CEO Damon Whiteside said in a statement. “Being the 15th anniversary of this event also makes it a night to remember some of the Academy’s pioneers who originally inspired these honors.”
The ACM special award recipients will be recognized at the 15th annual Academy of Country Music Honors on Aug. 24 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.