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‘Welcome to Wakanda’: Monica Hits Back at White Reporter Who Criticized Her and Other Black Celebs’ Attendance at the CMT Awards

Monica and Anthony Mackie attended the 2022 Country Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, in March. The R&B singer joined Jimmie Allen and Little Big Town for a performance of “Pray,” while the “Avengers” actor co-hosted the big event with Kane Brown. The participation of Black talent led a white reporter to express that “there were so many Black people” at this year’s country music awards show.

Monica recently caught wind of a video of a white reporter, Patrick Howley, complaining’ that this year’s CMT awards was a “train wreck.” He began with a critique of Mackie, who co-hosted the event in place of white country-pop singer Kelsea Ballerini, who tested positive for COVID-19.

ATLANTA, GA – JANUARY 15: Monica attends 2020 Leaders and Legends Ball at Atlanta History Center on January 15, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.(Photo by Prince Williams/Wireimage)

“I don’t know who this Black guy who’s hosting it. It’s supposed to be country music,” Howley said in the video. “No offense, I mean y’all have hip-hop and basketball. Know what I mean? It’s like, just fly with your flock, bro.”

He continued, “I’m not against you, but you’re up there being like ‘The melanated people invented country music. We was making country music in Wakanda before Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard done stole the black man’s country music.’ It’s like all right, bro. It’s so angry.”

In other parts, Howley added, “There were so many Black people there, sorry to say, but like so many Black celebrities who have nothing to do with country music and it’s like ‘Why?’ No disrespect to the funky brothers of music. I love Earth, Wind & Fire, Run-DMC, etc. But I mean, country music’s different. Country music’s different. It’s not Wakanda.”

After seeing the backlash, Monica felt “motivated” to address Howley on Instagram, and share a screenshot of the feedback.

“I’ve never been more motivated,” she wrote in the caption. “Patrick Howley, although your feelings are likely shared by some, it’s NOT by the masses! I have an all star LEGENDARY team of true country artist[s] that are currently working with me that would beg to differ! Because of the genuine hearts of @lesliefram1 & @cmt…I shared the stage w/ @jimmieallen & @littlebigtown …This was the first of many times that you will see me!”

The Grammy-winning vocalist concluded with, “I see you caught that my skin is melanated, but you missed that it was tough! I’m rooted in the word & built to last! See you soon, or should I say ‘Welcome to Wakanda’ gracefully bows w/ @anthonymackie. ‘OPEN ROADS COMING SOON’ MDA.”

“Open Roads” is the title of Monica’s first country album, which she also revealed at the CMT Awards. Country music is new singing territory for the R&B vocalist who has been a fan of the genre since she was a child. She first mentioned working on a country album during a Billboard interview in August 2021.

She said, “I became a really big fan of Dolly Parton at about eight or years old. That was my real introduction to country music. Shortly after, it was Kenny Rogers. I started listening to the depth of the songs and the fact that they were unafraid to say whatever it was they felt. I felt like this was a great time for me to really step into an area that I’ve always admired and loved. We’re just getting started, but I have so enjoyed it and been welcomed with open arms.”

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