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Mickey Guyton introduced at CMAs by teen who inspired her song 'Love My Hair'

"This next artist created this song to make sure girls like me feel seen and loved," Faith Fennidy said, introducing the the rising country star.
55th Annual CMA Awards - Show
Mickey Guyton performs during the 55th annual Country Music Association awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 10, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.Terry Wyatt / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Mickey Guyton is changing the world of country music.

The musician invited teenager Faith Fennidy to introduce her performance of "Love My Hair" at the 2021 Country Music Association Awards on Wednesday evening.

As NBC News reported in 2018, Fennidy was sent home from school at age 11 for her braided hair extensions.

"My name is Faith Fennidy and I'm proud to say that I inspired the song you're about to hear by an artist I love," the teen said before recalling the experience that led to Guyton writing the song.

"A few years ago, I was sent home from school because my braids were said to be a distraction," Fennidy explained. "It was devastating for me. But this next artist created this song to make sure girls like me feel seen and loved."

After the applause from the audience settled, Fennidy added, "And that’s how you turn something painful into something very positive. With your help, we can work together to ensure the next generation grows up in a respectful and open world for natural hair."

Guyton then took the stage to sing the emotional song, with help from fellow musicians Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards.

Mickey Guyton performs song "Love My Hair" with Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards at the 55th annual Country Music Association awards. Terry Wyatt / Getty Images

The three singers, who all showcased curly, voluminous Black hair, harmonized on the impactful chorus that goes, "I used to think what God gave me wasn't fair/ I'd braid it all/Just to hide the curls up there/ I found my freedom/ When I learned not to care/ Now I'm not scared/ To love who I am/ I love my hair."

Fennidy joined the trio on stage at the end of the performance for a group hug.

Faith Fennidy on stage with Mickey Guyton, Madeline Edwards and Brittney Spencer at the CMA Awards. ABC via Getty Images

Guyton took to Instagram to compliment Fennidy for motivating her to write the track, which appears on the artist’s debut album "Remember Her Name."

She wrote that having Fennidy present her performance, "means the world to me."

"She is the future and I want to be like her when I grow up," Guyton added.

The empowering teen returned the compliment on her Instagram. Fennidy posted a group photo with Guyton, Spencer, and Edwards and said, "This whole night was magical! I will NEVER forget this. Thank you for EVERYTHING."

Prior to the performance, Guyton spoke with Nashville newspaper The Tennessean about the song's meaningful lyrics.

"This song is about self love," said Guyton. "We talk about loving our hair as Black women. It is also [about] truly loving who we are. I think so many of us are so mean to ourselves, and we need to learn to love ourselves a little bit. I really hope it touches a lot of people."

The singer previously addressed representing Black women in country music and being a mentor for young girls when she appeared on TODAY's Citi Concert series in September for her plaza concert.

Speaking about how she hopes "Remember Her Name" spreads these messages, she explained, "I feel like the world only wants — they don't really pay attention to the hard things that happen in life and so often so many of us don’t feel seen."

She added that "so many of us feel left out and not included."

"It's so important for people to be acknowledged. That's so important for just their feelings and their hearts to be acknowledged," Guyton said. "We live in a society where we just don’t see people."

When TODAY's Craig Melvin noted that there are not many Black women in country music, Guyton replied, "No, but there’s gonna be more."

"You’re inspiring those young girls out there," weatherman Al Roker told the songwriter.

Guyton, who earlier this year participated in TODAY and Citi's "Women Who Rock: Music & Mentorship" series, stressed her wish to use her platform to help other female singers.

"Mentorship is really important for me and I seek them out because it’s so important for Black women to be able to sing country music if that’s what they want to sing."

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