Rapper Lil Durk invites Morgan Wallen on stage following racial slur scandal

Lil Durk, a 29-year-old rapper whose real name is Durk Derrick Banks, performed at the Martin Luther King Freedom Fest in Nashville, Tennesse on Saturday when he described Wallen, 28, as “genuine at heart.”

Seconds later, he welcomed Wallen on stage and declared to the audience, “Can’t nobody cancel s— without me saying.”

Wallen could be seen greeting Durk on stage with a handshake. “What’s up Nashville?!” Wallen yelled to the crowd.

GRAND OLE OPRY CRITICIZED OVER MORGAN WALLEN SURPRISE PERFORMANCE

Wallen has been banned from performances in the country music industry since video surfaced of him using a racial slur. 

Wallen has been banned from performances in the country music industry since video surfaced of him using a racial slur.  (Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

The two artists performed their 2021 song “Broadway Girls.” The crowd could be heard cheering in a video shared on Twitter from WGCI 107.5.

Wallen’s return to the stage follows a year of controversy for the country singer. He made headlines last February after a video surfaced of him using the N-Word.

The public backlash was swift online and in the country music industry. Even though he was nominated for multiple Academy of Country Music Awards, Wallen was not included in the ceremony in any capacity. He was also dropped by his record label and his music was banned from iHeartRadio.

Wallen opened up about the video and his choice to use a racial slur months after the video surfaced in an interview with Michael Strahan.

MORGAN WALLEN TO CHRISSY TEIGEN: CELEBRITIES WHO WERE CANCELED IN 2021

“I was around some of my friends and we just, we say dumb stuff together. In our minds it’s playful. It sounds ignorant but that’s really where it came from, and it’s wrong,” Wallen said. “We were all clearly drunk and I was asking his girlfriend to take care of him because he was drunk and he was leaving. I didn’t mean it in any derogatory manner at all.”

Morgan Wallen was dropped from his record label following a racial slur scandal in 2021.

Morgan Wallen was dropped from his record label following a racial slur scandal in 2021. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMA)

Despite the backlash, Wallen’s music continues to be successful. He recently announced his 2022 tour dates.

Just days ago, the Grand Ole Opry came under fire for welcoming Wallen to the country music’s most historic and storied stage. He made an unannounced appearance on the Opry, which has been broadcasting for nearly 100 years, to sing with country artist ERNEST.

Performers ranging from Yola, Allison Russell, Rissi Palmer, Noelle Scaggs of Fitz and the Tantrums, Joy Oladokun, Chely Wright, as well as Grammy winners Brandi Carlile and Jason Isbell, weighed in on how the Opry’s decision could have troubling consequences for artists of color in country music.

“Morgan Wallen’s thoughtless redemption tour is the nail in the coffin of me realizing these systems and this town is not really for us,” wrote Oladokun.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTER

“It’s the idea of a young Black artist walking into that venue and wondering if ANYBODY is on their side,” wrote Isbell. “What a lot of us consider to be a grand ole honor can be terrifying for some.”

Lil Durk performs at Lil Baby & Friends in Concert at State Farm Arena on December 12, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Lil Durk performs at Lil Baby & Friends in Concert at State Farm Arena on December 12, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Prince Williams/Wireimage)

Following Wallen’s appearance, Holly G wrote a letter asking for an explanation of how the Opry felt that Wallen met their standards.

“They have figured out they can invite a few Black performers to the stage and give them debuts and that will quiet or calm people down for a little bit,” she told The Associated Press. “But if you look at the structural set up for the institution, nothing has changed. They have two Black members over the entire history of the institution.”

A publicist for the Opry did not return a request for comment from the AP, and Holly G said she also had not received a response to her letter as of last Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comments are closed.