Mickey Guyton made history at the ACM Awards on Wednesday night as the first-ever Black woman to give a solo performance of her own music at the show, taking the stage at the Grand Ole Opry with her song "What Are You Gonna Tell Her?" Backed by show host Keith Urban on the piano, Guyton wore a white dress as she sang the empowering ballad, which Guyton described as "polarizing."
"To just stand here and sing such a polarizing song on the ACM Awards about protecting our future, protecting our daughters, protecting women because we're so important and we matter," she said during a press room interview, via E! News. "And it's just been such an honor to be able to stand here and be that to people."
Guyton, who was nominated for New Female Vocalist of the Year at the ACMs in 2016, released her latest EP, Bridges, on Sept. 11. "That whole phrase — 'you see it, you can be it' — really rings true," she said while reflecting on her career and Wednesday night's performance. "The only reason why I felt that I could pursue country music was because I saw another Black woman singing country music named Rissi Palmer. And if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be here."
"So me standing on that stage, representing just women of color period, it shows them that they have the opportunity, too and that they can sing whatever kind of music they want to sing," she continued. "It doesn't just have to be just R&B. If they want to sing country music, they can and they will be accepted by this beautiful community."
The 37-year-old, who is expecting her first child with husband Grant Savoy, also shared that she is "a part of the ACM diversity task force," noting that "the ACMs are relentlessly committed to diversifying the ACM Awards."
"There's a Black writer on the show, and they've really taken our recommendations on how to make this world so inclusive because it actually is," Guyton said. "All people have to do is see themselves and feel encouraged to be a part of this community and they can and the ACMs really has shown that tonight. I'm just … I feel really, really hopeful. As hard of a year as it's been, as crazy as a year it's been, it really has been beautiful to see people come together and put all of our differences aside and make the world better."
After her performance, Guyton received a number of congratulatory messages on social media from her fellow artists including Maren Morris, who wrote on her Instagram Story, "Congratulations [Mickey Guyton] on an amazing performance and being the FIRST BLACK WOMAN to perform at the [ACM Awards]!" Kelsea Ballerini tweeted, "Wow. [Mickey Guyton], that is a performance that will make people listen, think, and change. Me included. You are a force."