Shania Twain has been awarded the Equal Play Award, which recognises artistes who are vocal advocates for elevating diverse and underrepresented voices in country music, at Sunday’s CMT Music Awards at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas.
While accepting the award, the singer-songwriter called on the country music industry to be more inclusive.
Twain was introduced by rapper Megan Thee Stallion, who praised the star for “shatter[ing] ceilings and redefin[ing]… country music and beyond.”
“I just met her and that’s my new bestie,” the rapper said. “She’s been an outspoken ally against every hate of all kind… gender gaps, ageism, impacting inequalities against the LGBTQ+ community and more. She’s an inspiration to me and millions of others.”
Twain said that when she wrote her 1997 hit “Man! I Feel Like a Woman,” she “had no idea at the time that it would become an undercurrent of a decades-long career.”
She added that “It’s amazing how just one statement can empower so many. And ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman’ has been adopted by an array of fantastic communities all around the world and become such a genuine path of power, which brings me so much joy”.
She thanked CMT for pushing the Equal Play agenda and always supporting her.
The singer then reminded the audience that she won her first-ever award, the CMT Rising Star award, at the show in 1993, giving the CMTs “a very special place in [her] heart.”
The star then called on the country music industry to “close the gap and provide an equal workspace for all talent,” before shouting out the many rising stars she’s bringing with her on her Queen of Me tour this year, including Lily Rose, Lindsay Ell, Hailey Whitters, BRELAND, Robyn Ottolini, Mickey Guyton and others.
“My hope is this opportunity and spotlight impresses you much and lights up the careers of these very talented people on their journey,” she finished. “I will continue to do my best as a trailblazer. Together, let’s ensure all our fellow artists get equal play regardless of gender, age or race.”