During the 54th annual Wednesday night, used her acceptance speech after winning the award for Female Vocalist of the Year to champion Black female artists, starting with Linda Martell, who, in 1969, became the first Black woman to play the Grand Ole Opry.
“I have a lot of people to thank, and they're the typical ones that lift me up and made this dream come true with me. But there are some names in my mind that I want to give recognition to, because I'm just a fan of their music and they are as country as it gets,” Morris began. “And I just want them all to know how much we love them back. And just check out their music after this. It's Linda Martell, Yola, Mickey Guyton, Rissi Palmer, Brittney Spencer, Rhiannon Giddens. There are so many amazing Black women that have pioneered and continue to pioneer this genre. I know they're going to come after me; they've come before me. You've made this genre so, so beautiful. I hope you know that we see you. Thank you for making me so inspired as a singer.”
This year's CMA award show was historic for Black country singers in other notable ways as well. became the second Black person ever to co-host the show, almost a half-century after country legend Charley Pride in 1975, who happened to be honored Wednesday night with the Willie Nelson LIfetime Achievement Award, presented by rising Black country star Jimmie Allen.
However, Maren was the big winner of the night, and her moment acknowledging Black women in country music did not go unnoticed on Twitter. One viewer tweeted: "@MarenMorris using her female vocalist of the year award moment to shout out the amazing black women in country music. MORE OF THIS PLEASE."