CMA Awards 2019: Jennifer Nettles’ red-carpet outfit demands ‘Equal Play’

Country music star Jennifer Nettles wore a power suit with a powerful message at the Country Music Association Awards.

The lead vocalist of the Sugarland duo donned a white suit with a bright pink cape on the award show’s red carpet on Wednesday.

The front of the cape reads: “Play Our F*@#!n Records,” while the back boasts a portrait of a woman with the female gender symbol and the words: “Equal Play.”

Nettles aimed to make a poignant statement about the inequality of record plays for women on the radio. She took to Instagram to share her message, posting a black-and-pink image with the hashtag #equalplay on it.

“Please join me in supporting women in country music. We need to hear these stories,” she wrote. “We need to show women that they have a seat at every table.

“If a woman in country music has impacted your life through their song, post about it with the hashtag #EqualPlay and tag a friend to do the same,” the post continued. “Let’s share with the industry, programmers and playlisters that women’s stories and songs are important. #equalplay.”

The CMA Awards made a significant effort to put women at the forefront of the show this year, bringing the likes of country legends Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire as well as modern stars like Carrie Underwood.

The show made history this year by nominating at least one woman in every category except for Male Vocalist of the Year.

The 45-year-old Georgia native had quite a few fans in the comments section of her Instagram account supporting her.

“I love what you wore at the CMAs,” one fan wrote, while another said: “Women in country music are so brave with their honesty.”

Not everyone was so supportive, though.

“Love you as an artist, but many country music lovers are southerners living in the Bible Belt with very conservative reviews,” one person commented. “Your highly liberal beliefs … go against most of what folks believe.”

“She lost a fan with me here,” another wrote. “Every time you turn the radio on country, all you hear is Carrie.”

Earlier this year, NPR reported on a study out of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative that found country music excludes women, especially those over the age of 40.

According to Annenberg researchers, only 16 per cent of all country artists are female and only 12 per cent of country songwriters are women.

The study also found that when female country artists have found mainstream success, it was when they were young, much like Taylor Swift.

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