“Dangerous” breaking records, despite controversy

Kaitlynn Breeden, Associate Editor

Wallen’s album “Dangerous: The Double Album” is at its ninth consecutive week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, which is the first country album in history to do so. “Dangerous” had the equivalent of 78,000 sales in the United States, including 98 million streams and 6,000 copies sold as a complete package, according to MRC Data, Billboard’s tracking unit. The album has had the most weeks at No. 1 for any album in five years and is one of only four country albums in the 65-year history of the chart to spend at least nine weeks at No. 1.
Wallen’s success comes after him being caught on camera outside his house using the n-word towards a friend. Wallen returned to his home around midnight on Feb. 2 and a neighbor recorded him being loud, obnoxious and using the slur. The country singer’s opportunity to be the musical guest on Saturday Night Live was revoked, but he was given another chance a few weeks later.
Radio stations stopped playing his songs, he was dropped from his talent agency, WME, and suspended indefinitely by his record label, Big Loud. His music has been pulled from top radio chains, including iHeartRadio and Entercom, cable network CMT, SiriusXM, Pandora, as well as being removed from any visible spots on Spotify and Apple Music.
The Academy of Country Music disqualified Wallen from eligibility for the 2021 awards after the video of him emerged. The Academy specifically noted that Wallen, “cannot and will not be mentioned” at any point during the broadcast, while also noting that even nods to “the elephant in the room” will not be tolerated.
However, despite the album still performing well on the charts, Wallen is in hot water within the country music community. The response from some artists has been swift. Mickey Guyton, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, and Cassadee Pope, all spoke out about the controversy. Maren Morris tweeted, “It actually is representation of our town because this isn’t his first “scuffle” and he just demolished a huge streaming record last month regardless. We all know it wasn’t his first time using that word. We keep them rich and protected at all costs with no recourse.”
Regarding the video of Wallen, Pope denounced the use of racial slurs in any context. “Let me reiterate. The news about Morgan that broke does not represent ALL of country music,” Pope tweeted. “As you can see, it represents some. It’s disgraceful and has to change.”
Wallen issued an apology on Facebook Live for his remarks, saying that the video did not capture one of his finer moments. “The video you saw was me on hour 72 of a 72-hour bender, and that’s not something I’m proud of either,” Wallen said. “Obviously, the natural thing to do is apologize further and continue to apologize, because you got caught, and that’s not what I wanted to do.”