Country superstar Kelsea Ballerini hosted the 2023 CMT Music Awards in Austin, Texas, and brought iconic Drag Race stars on stage to protest anti-drag bills. Ballerini was joined by four Drag Race fan favorites — Season 3’s Manila Luzon, Season 7’s Kennedy Davenport, Season 12’s Jan, and Season 13’s Olivia Lux — for a fun, campy, picket-fenced performance of her recent hit single “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too),” complete with the queens dressed in retro desperate-housewives eleganza. While accepting CMT’s special Equal Play Award, which recognizes artists that advocate for diversity in country music, Shania Twain used her time at the podium to demand that the country music industry close the gap and provide an equal workspace for all talent. Twain said, “I believe in an all-inclusive country music…Together, let’s ensure all our fellow artists get equal play regardless of gender, age, or race.” Twain also gave a shout-out to several rising country artists that will be joining her on tour this year, including Mickey Guyton and Breland, who are Black, and Lily Rose, one of the few openly gay country artists signed to a major label in Nashville.
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