If it were up to Maren Morris, the country music industry would be a lot more inclusive, and the singer is determined to use her platform to enact real change.
During a new interview with Ellen DeGeneres, the 30-year-old got real about the lack of diversity in country music and said the industry should create more opportunities for Black men and women. She also admitted that she, herself, has an important role to play in the process.
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“I’m a white woman in country music. I already sort of have this leg up and even though there’s a huge disparity between men and women in our genre, there’s even more of a disparity between white women and Black women trying to be in country music,” she said. "There’s so many Black women and men who adore country music and don’t feel like the door is open for them, even a crack."
Morris said she's been doing her own research on matters of race and bias in the past few years, especially following the death of George Floyd, and said that her industry, like many others, could make some improvements.
"I just feel like country music as a genre — we all have so much room to grow, myself included — but I think country music definitely is stepping up to the plate slowly but surely," she said.
Morris, who has always been outspoken, admitted that it's not always easy to stand up for what's right when you're a public figure but said she is trying to make sure she is as inclusive as possible.
"For me, it's just like, you know what, I have to think about my son and the people in my circle going forward — who I write with, who I employ — and think, you know, 'Am I making room for everybody?'" she said.
Over time, the singer has developed thick skin and realizes that she can't please everyone. And that's OK with her.
"I don't care if someone on TikTok thinks I suck," she said. "It's not really my issue. I think I just want to exist in a genre that is working to be better."
Morris hasn't shied away from speaking her mind on a range of issues. During her interview with DeGeneres, Morris also opened up about her decision to lend her support to country star T.J. Osborne when he came out as gay in February.
"I hope that him having the bravery to even do that has made a few more people that love country music that are gay feel like they have a home there too," she said. "I'm so proud of him. He was one of my first friends when I moved to Nashville eight years ago. He's just so talented, so kind. For him to put it all out there is just, I'm not a sliver of that brave so I'm really proud of T.J."