On Thursday, the Academy of Country Music announced the hosts for its 56th annual awards ceremony.
Per a press release sent to The Root, country music singer Mickey Guyton will be making history as the first Black woman to host the ACMAs, where she will be joined by fellow country artist Keith Urban. Guyton previously performed at last year’s ceremony for the first time, where Urban provided a piano accompaniment for her acclaimed hit “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?”
“As I’ve said before ‘if you can see it, you can be it,’ and it’s such an honor to step onto the ACM stage as the first ever Black woman to host the show,” Guyton expressed in a statement. “Over the years, the Academy of Country Music has always been a home for me through opportunities both onstage and throughout their work on diversity and inclusion. This is a moment of great significance for me and I am so thrilled to share it with all the fans.”
“I’m beyond thrilled to be co-hosting with my friend Mickey,” Urban added. “I love that finally everyone will get to see her infectious energy and uber creative spirit in full light.”
Signed to Capitol Records Nashville in 2011, Guyton released her self-titled EP four years later and was subsequently nominated for her first Academy of Country Music Award for New Female Vocalist in 2016. Back in September 2020, she released Bridges, an EP that included the aforementioned hit, “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” as well as, “Black Like Me,” the latter being released earlier that year in June during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests. It was later recognized as one of the Top 10 songs of 2020 by NPR, Billboard and The Associated Press. Speaking on the importance of highlighting reality through a musical lens, Guyton told Taste of Country:
“Music is supposed to be hopeful, and that’s the kind of music that I’ve been trying to write: Talk about the issues that have been happening and then hopefully bring people a little hope after I talk about it,” the singer-songwriter explains. “The only way we can get better is if we talk about the issue. We can’t just brush it under a rug like so often we do—that’s so detrimental to your heart. You’ve gotta face it.”
In addition to hosting the 2021 ACMAs, Guyton has also made history as the first Black female solo artist to be nominated for a Grammy in the country category. Currently up for Best Country Solo Performance, she’ll be performing “Black Like Me” at this year’s ceremony, which airs Sunday, March 14.
The 56th Academy of Country Music Awards will broadcast live on Sunday, April 18 at 8:00 p.m. ET on CBS and will also be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.