Morgan Wallen Set to Return to Awards Stage With First Performance Since 'N-Word' Controversy

Morgan Wallen has been away from the awards circuit for more than a year now, following his "n-word" controversy in early 2021. However, it's been announced that he'll be making a return next month. Wallen is set to appear on the Billboard Music Awards, which will be held May 15 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Regarding why Wallen was re-invited to the award show this year — after not being invited last year — MRC Live & Alternative —a division of MRC that produces the Billboard Music Awards — told that the decision to came after conversations with "a dedicated group of diverse staffers at MRC." The company explained, "We oppose discrimination, harassment, or racism of any kind. We believe in treating everyone with dignity and respect. After a thorough review and robust discussions internally and with the artist's team, in which we found a demonstrated and ongoing commitment to meaningful work and outreach, we extended an invitation to participate in this year's show."

Billboard also shared details from an MRC internal memo, which clarified in more detail the reason for not inviting Wallen in 2021 — due to his use of the racial slur — and why 2022 has led them to a different decision. "Born out of our racial equity work at MRC, a team led by diverse colleagues created an internal process to review if our content aligns with our stated diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives. We ran this process last year with regard to Mr. Wallen, and again this year which resulted in a different decision," the memo read. However, the MRC team's more recent investigation of Wallen "found that there were meaningful and significant efforts toward understanding and redemption, as well as an ongoing commitment to additional work."

Wallen remained mostly out of the limelight for several months in 2021 after being caught on camera using the aforementioned racial slur. In an apology statement to the NY Times, following the incident, Wallen said, "I'm embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better." He eventually reemerged turning up at Kid Rock's Nashville bar to perform two songs in May.

He also issued a public statement posted to his Instagram, writing in part, "I wanted to let you guys know that I've taken a couple months away and feel like I've really worked on myself. I'm proud of the work I've put in, and in many ways thankful to have had the time to do it. I've needed this time off."

Wallen's fellow country singer and friend Chase Rice spoke exclusively with, offering an update on how Wallen had been doing. "He's good! Speaking of putting in work, he's put in a lot of work himself," Rice said. "I've hung with him quite a few times now and he seems to be in a lot better place. I don't know what exactly he did, those are the details that he can tell if he wants to, but he seems to be in a good place."