Country music's biggest night delighted fans.
Whether you're a boot-wearing, truck-driving, dip-chewing, diehard country music fan, or someone who — in the right mood — can casually enjoy the sound of a banjo, you can probably appreciate the spectacle of the Country Music Awards.On November 14th, Country Music's biggest night returned for a star studded good time in the heart of Nashville. If you missed CBS's live presentation of the awards show, don't worry, because we've compiled a list of the night's top moments to help you feel like you were boot-stomping along with the rest of the crowd in the Bridgestone Arena.
Garth Brooks Opens the Show
Garth Brooks opened the show with a heartfelt moment. He dedicated the night to the twelve victims of last week's shooting at the country night at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California "On behalf of our country music community, I want to say that tonight's show is lovingly dedicated to the 12 individuals who we lost far too soon just a week ago tonight at the Borderline in Thousand Oaks, California," Brooks said, as phone lights illuminated the somber crowd. "Tonight, let's celebrate their lives." Afterwards, the stadium honored the fallen country music fans with a moment of silence.
Carrie Underwood Reveals the Gender of her Baby
For the 11th year in a row, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood hosted the ceremony, and delivered another of their famous spoof songs. Paisley then tried to talk Underwood into revealing the gender of her second child. "Seriously Carrie, give me a little baby hint? Johnny or June? Keith or Nicole. Garth or Trisha. Tim or Faith. George or Tammy. Waylon or Willie?" After continuous prodding, Underwood finally revealed that the baby is a boy. "Oh my gosh — Willie, it's a Willie ok!?"
Keith Urban Gets Emotional
Lionel Richie presented the coveted entertainer of the year award towards the end of the evening, and announced Keith Urban as the winner. Urban, who last won entertainer of the year in 2005, immediately became emotional while accepting the award, and said, "Thank you so much . . . I am shocked beyond shocked," he told the cheering crowd. He mentioned his wife, Nicole Kidman, who was also in tears in the audience ("Baby girl, I love you so much"). "I just feel very, very blessed, very grateful that I get to do what I do. . . God bless country music."
Kacey Musgraves Wins Best Album
Kacey Musgraves won the album of the year award for her hit record, Golden Hour. Musgraves is the first female artist to win the prize since Miranda Lambert in 2014.
Chris Stapleton's Big Night
Chris Stapleton took home the most awards of the evening, winning male vocalist, best song, and best single of the year for the powerful hit "Broken Halos." His win for best male vocalist means the singer is undefeated in the category, having received the award every year since 2015. Stapleton also gave one of the best performances of the night with his moving collaboration with Maren Morris and Mavis Staples. The three joined together to sing Stapleton's song "Friendship" then transitioned into The Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There."
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Plus celebrities react to Nigerian protests.
Young people across Nigeria have been pouring into the streets for the last two weeks to protest police brutality, specifically the controversial special police force known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Tension came to a head on Tuesday when armed forces fired on protestors in Lagos, the biggest city in Nigeria, who were out past the state-mandated curfew. According to AP News, "Police also fired tear gas at one point, and smoke could be seen billowing from several areas in the city's center. Two private TV stations were forced off the air at least temporarily as their offices were burned."
Not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
October 21, 2020 marks the third annual International Pronouns Day.
Created by an independent board and first observed in 2018, it's one of those small commemorative holidays that trends on Twitter in hopes of drawing attention to a pressing social issue, like International Women's Day (March 8th) or the ever so serious National Taco Day (October 4).
But Pronouns Day in particular "seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace." The organization's website further describes, "Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people's multiple, intersecting identities."
But in the words of nonbinary activist and Trevor Project's Head of Advocacy and Government Afairs, Sam Brenton, "Pronouns are hard." Never before have pronouns been scrutinized as closely as they are in 2019 for their power to (in)validate or accurately describe something as fluid as gender identity. In fact, it was only this year that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary expanded the definition of "they" "to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary" (thus codifying a long history in English language of using "they" to refer to a singular non-gendered entity).
‘Everyone has the responsibility to be respectful.’ — The @TrevorProject’s Sam Brinton is explaining why pronouns a… https://t.co/pMMO8KRvBR— NowThis (@NowThis)1571253180.0
But throwing an additional wrench in the works is the fact that not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
Take me, for instance: Despite having female biology, I couldn't pass a lie detector test saying I'm a "woman." But my pragmatic, Puritan family is still endearingly confused by the idea of "liberal arts," let alone the notion of gender fluidity. And I'd rather share a communal language with them than do the emotional and mental labor of re-orienting their worldview for them. Plus, I have the privilege of passing as female without feeling too, too, terribly dysphoric (which non-binary people can definitely suffer from, despite not identifying as trans).
But enough about me, look at Queer Eye's beloved Jonathan Van Ness. While he's been outspoken about being genderqueer, gay, and HIV positive, he prefers he/him pronouns. "The older I get, the more I think that I'm nonbinary," Van Ness said. "I'm gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman." As he told Out magazine, he doesn't identify as a man, but he does prefer "he/him/his" pronouns. In his view, those pronouns don't detract from or contradict his non-binary identity, because gender is not about simple binaries between masculine and feminine identifiers. "Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I'm here for it," he said. "I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It's this social construct that I don't really feel like I fit into the way I used to."
On the other hand, last month non-binary singer Sam Smith announced that their preferred pronouns are "they/them." Smith posted to Instagram, "I've decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM ❤ after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out." People like Smith and Trevor Project's Sam Brenton simply feel more validated, seen, heard, and true to themselves with gender-neutral pronouns. Smith wrote, "I'm so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I've been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f*ck it!"
Most importantly, as pretty much every non-binary person and activist is aware, changing cultural norms is hard. While LGBTQ+ activism is inspired and passionate and dedicated to expanding human rights to all gender identities, we all know that changing society's entire understanding of gender and pronoun usage is about slowly opening minds. As Smith wrote, "I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now. Thank you." Happy Pronouns Day to you/him/her/they/(f)aer/zim.