Morgan Wallen Returns to the Stage After Using Racial Slur in Leaked Video

Matthew Honda
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Tyler Golden/NBC

Morgan Wallen, a former contestant on The Voice, climbed to the top of the country music world despite his playoff elimination. Wallen took a break from social media and the public eye after a video surfaced in which he can be heard using a racial slur. Now, he’s returned with a performance at Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock N’ Roll Steakhouse.


On February 2, TMZ posted a video that showed Wallen using racial slurs among his friends. A week later, he posted a public apology regarding his “last incident” to Instagram. He said in the video he was on “hour 72 of hour 72 of a bender” and does not reflect the truth of who he is as a person.

Regardless, his music was pulled from every major channel of music streaming and radio. His recording contract was also indefinitely suspended. CMT and the Country Music Association removed any of his appearances from all of their platforms. Adding salt to the wound, the Academy of Country Music announced his latest album, Dangerous: The Double Album, which released in Januarywould be ineligible for the 56th annual awards show. 

It appears that Wallen is now trying to salvage what’s left of his career making a comeback to the stage at Kid Rock’s bar in Nashville. In April, he posted a written letter to fans in which he thanks them for their continued support as his album bounced back from the controversy.


“I’ve taken a couple months away and feel like I’ve really worked on myself,” he wrote.

This Wasn’t His First Controversy

The controversies surrounding The Voice alum began around May of last year. Wallen was arrested at the time for public intoxication and disorderly conduct after an incident at Kid Rock’s bar. Yes, the same one in which he performed last night.

He was released on bond soon after and issued an apology via Twitter to the bar staff and affected patrons. Wallen also thanked the “local authorities for being so professional and doing their job with class.”


Wallen again found himself under public scrutiny in October of 2020. Only days before making his debut on Saturday Night Live, the show’s producers replaced him when a video showed Wallen partying in a bar. In the video, he’s seen without a mask, disregarding social distance recommendations, and kissing various women.

The behavior was a clear breach of SNL’s COVID-19 protocols leading producers to replace his act. Not much of a punishment for Wallen who did appear on the show just two months later. In that episode, the show even featured a sketch that poked fun at his COVID-19 controversy

His Time on ‘The Voice’

At the age of 20, Wallen auditioned for The Voice hoping his life story would inspire others to never give up. His voice earned him a spot on Team Usher, but Adam Levine eventually stole him in the Battle Rounds. Wallen was then eliminated in the play-offs. 

Not long after his elimination, he signed a deal with Panacea Records, releasing his debut EP Stand Alone in 2015. Before the end of 2016, he found himself signed to Big Loud Records label and he began to blow up. He got to work with names like Jason Aldean and Dallas Smith to co-write some of their hits.

Wallen’s Career Post-‘The Voice’

Florida Georgia Line also took a liking to him and he was invited to join their Dig Your Roots Tour. In 2018 we saw the release of his second album If I Know Me. His single “Whiskey Glasses” reached Number 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart in and ended the year as the Number 1 song on country radio. In August 2020 If I Know Me also reached Number 1 on the Top Country Albums chart.

Wallen began 2020 with a new single in entitled “More Than My Hometown.” His second single, “7 Summers,” was released on August 14 and broke the Apple Music record for most first-day streams of a country song. The song marked his first time making the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 list, debuting at Number 6. Wallen also made history as the first artist ever to chart six out of the ten songs on Billboard’s Top 10 of Hot Country Songs at one time. In total the album has had 23 songs make the charts in Canada and 19 for the U.S. 

Wallen seemed to have a huge career ahead of him until his series of bad choices lead to the string of negative attention. He was a country music sensation, but his continued actions lead to an almost overnight dismantling. While he may be trying to bounce back now, some scandals can’t be forgiven.

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