Mickey Guyton brought a new and necessary perspective to the stage of the CMA Awards Nov. 10 in Nashville. The country artist performed “Love My Hair” from her debut album, alongside Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards.
The song was inspired by the story of Faith Fennidy, a Black student in Louisiana who was sent home from school after being told her braided hair violated the school’s policy. The story resonated with Guyton, who previously sang of the racism she encountered as a child in Texas on “Black Like Me.”
On the telecast, Guyton, Spencer and Edwards were introduced by Fennidy. “This next artist created this song to make sure girls like me feel seen and loved,” Fennidy told the gathering. “And that’s how you turn something very painful into very positive.”
“I used to think what God gave me wasn’t fair,” Guyton sang, as Spencer and Edwards stood by her side, taking her hand. “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.”
When they finished their final harmonized refrain of “I love my hair,” Fennidy joined them onstage for a group hug, as the audience in the arena rose to their feet.
During rehearsals earlier in the week, the trio spoke to about the performance, which Edwards believed would be “a really historic moment for the CMAS, and for country music in general.”
“This song is about self love,” Guyton said. “We talk about loving our hair as Black women. It’s 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.”
Spencer added: “I think this moment is is overwhelming in the best way because it’s so much bigger than any of us. It’s about love.”