Maren Morris is calling on her fellow artists to take a stand.
During her recent conversation with Luke Combsand moderator Ann Powers from NPR at the annual Country Radio Seminar, Maren addressed how artists could help to make country music more inclusive and the genre’s history of displaying the Confederate flag.
As a Texan, Maren says that she “didn’t know that the rebel flag meant” until she was a teenager, but as she’s grown to understand what it signifies, she believes it’s time for country artists to take a stand against them.
“Can we just agree, at these country music festivals, I see the Confederate flags in the parking lots, I don’t want to play those festivals anymore. If you were a black person would you ever feel safe going to a show with those flying in the parking lot? No.
I feel like the most powerful thing as artists in our position right now is to make those demands of large organizations, festivals, promoters, whatnot. That’s one of the things we can do is say ‘No, I’m not doing this. Get rid of them.'”
The conversation came during a discussion around Luke’s prior use of the Confederate flag in a video with Ryan Upchurch in 2015, for which Luke has since apologized.
Luke also agreed with Maren’s sentiment on the Confederate flag, saying that he believes there are other ways to show pride in southern heritage, and that “you don’t need the flag to be proud of being from the south.”
Luke Combs addressed his prior Confederate Flag use in the conversation as well, stemming from his appearance in a Ryan Upchurch music video back in 2015.
“There is no excuse for those images. I’m not trying to say, ‘This is why they were there and it’s OK that they were there.’ It’s not OK. As a younger man, that was an image I associated to mean something else.
As I’ve grown in my time as an artist, and as the world has changed drastically in the last five to seven years, I am now aware how painful that image can be…I would never want to be associated with something that brings so much hurt to someone else.”
Maren’s suggestion that artists should demand festivals and promoters ban the confederate flag also comes on the heels of NASCAR banning the flag from all of their events and properties last summer.
NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace called for the end of all Confederate flags at NASCAR races in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon last season.
“My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags… no one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race so it starts with confederate flags. Get them out of here, they have no place for them.
The narrative on that before is, I wasn’t bothered by it, but I don’t speak for everyone else, I speak for myself… but diving into it more and educating myself, people feel uncomfortable with it.”
"My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags,” says NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace after throwing his support behind the nationwide protests against police brutality. “Get them out of here." https://t.co/Kf4CrMLLGhpic.twitter.com/wSSBhByguS