At the 2019 CMA Awards, Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles walked the red carpet in a white pants suit with a hot pink train, emblazoned with the message, " "Play Our F––in Records, Please & Thank You," with "Equal Pay" written on the back. Nettles, who also wore the white pants suit (sans the train) for the opening all-female medley to kick off the CMA Awards ceremony, spoke out about the controversial outfit backstage at the CMA Awards
"When I learned that the CMAs were going to be celebrating women, and that the hostesses were three women, I thought, 'What a fantastic opportunity to continue the conversation and to take it beyond the applause tonight, and to shed some light,'" Nettles shared with PopCulture.com and other media. "With all the rumblings that we've heard for years of the under-representation of women in country music. Obviously we all know the numbers."
Those numbers include that between 2014 to 2018, only 16% of the top artists in country music were women, a fact Nettles quickly rambles off.
"That is an absolute tragedy," Nettles proclaimed. "And for a woman, it feels like what more womanly way to make a statement than through fashion? To be able to come tonight and say something, and shed some light and point a subversive finger in a cheeky way that really continues the conversation further."
Sugarland, which also includes Kristian Bush, released Bigger in 2018, their first collection of new songs in eight years, since The Incredible Machine was released in 2010. The album's debut single, "Still the Same," barely cracked the Top 30, while the follow-up, "Babe," written by and featuring Taylor Swift, made it into the Top 10. Sugarland hasn't had a single since then, perhaps in part due to Nettles' frustration with the lack of airplay she and other women receive.
Carrie Underwood, who hosted the CMA Awards alongside Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton, hopes that the recent live show can help put the focus back on the talented females in country music.
"When we started talking about the CMAs this year, thinking about what theme we might have ... I definitely was kind of pushing for a tribute to females in country music," Underwood told ABC.
While the CMA Awards might have helped, some country music fans were still outraged when Garth Brooks took home the CMA Award for Entertainer of the Year, instead of Underwood, who was also nominated for the trophy.
Photo Credit: Getty / Taylor Hill