Morgan Wallen Wins ACM Album of the Year at First Award Show Since N-Word Controversy

Morgan Wallen returned to his first award show since a video of him saying racial slurs got him banned from numerous events. At the 2022 ACM Awards, he took home Album of the Year.

By Steven Vargas Mar 08, 2022 3:59 AMTags
Watch: Why Morgan Wallen Will No Longer Perform on "SNL"

Morgan Wallen made his return to award shows about a year after he faced backlash for an offensive video. 

The "Whiskey Glasses" singer attended the 2022 Academy of Country Music Awards on Monday, March 7, the first since being banned from multiple award shows after a video of him saying the N-word surfaced in February 2021.

At the 2022 ACM Awards, Morgan was nominated for Male Artist of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year, winning Album of the Year for Dangerous: The Double Album.

Upon receiving the award for his album, he thanked his family, friends and team who have shown him "grace along the way," he said without specifically mentioning the scandal. 

"When I started this album, I was a kid," Morgan said on stage. "But the time I put it out, I was a father. And that's become more important to me than anything else. To my son, this album and this award will signify that his daddy was a fighter and he chased his dreams and worked hard to make them a reality."

ACM Awards 2022: Red Carpet Fashion

He last attended a show in November 2020 for the CMA Awards.

In February 2021, TMZ shared a video of Morgan saying the N-word after a night out with his friends in Nashville, Tenn. The footage led to backlash online and within the country music industry.

Maren Morris tweeted about the video at the time, writing, "It actually IS representative of our town because this isn't his first 'scuffle' and he just demolished a huge streaming record last month regardless. We all know it wasn't his first time using that word. We keep them rich and protected at all costs with no recourse."


On Feb. 2, he acknowledged his actions in a statement to E! News, saying, "I'm embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better."

The Academy of Country Music banned Morgan from their 2021 award show a day after the video released, sharing a statement on Twitter Feb. 3.

"We have made his management team aware of this decision," the statement read. "The Academy does not condone or support intolerance or behavior that doesn't align with our commitment and dedication to diversity and inclusion."


Dick Clark productions banned him from attending the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, saying in a statement in April that he would not be a part of the ceremony in any capacity.

"As his recent conduct does not align with our core values, we will not be including him on the show in any capacity (performing, presenting, accepting)," the statement read. "It is heartening and encouraging to hear that Morgan is taking steps in his anti-racist journey and starting to do some meaningful work. We plan to evaluate his progress and will consider his participation in future shows." 

He received six nominations at the 2021 ceremony based on charting: Top Country Artist, Top Country Male Artist, Top Country Album, Top Song Sales Artist and Top Country Song.

Eventually banned from award shows, suspended from his label and getting his music rescinded from the radio, he shared an apology video on Instagram

"I let so many people down who mean a lot to me and have given so much to me, and it's just not fair," he said in the video. "I let my parents down, and they're the furthest thing from the person in that video. I let my son down. and I'm not OK with that."

At the time, he attributed his action to him being drunk. Morgan later sat down with Michael Strahan on Good Morning America in July 2021, with the anchor asking how being intoxicated could lead to saying racial slurs, if he understood the history of the derogatory term and if he ever noticed racism in country music.  

Morgan said in the interview, "I think I was just ignorant about it. I don't think I sat down and was, like, 'Hey, is this right or is this wrong?'"

See more 2022 ACM winners here.