Morgan Wallen Holds Onto No. 1 Again Following Use of Racial Slur
Almost two weeks and two apologies later, Morgan Wallen, the country singer who was instantly convicted by the music industry for using a racist slur, is still number 1 on the charts – and his sales have soared.
Earlier this month, Wallen was spotted on camera in a clip released by TMZ, casually shouting the anti-black bow after a night of drinking with friends. The next day, his music was stripped from radio stations and playlists from streaming services, but his label vaguely said it would suspend Wallen’s contract.
In a five-minute video released last week, the singer, one of country music’s biggest new stars, said he was wrong and felt sorry for his language. “It is up to me to take responsibility for it and I fully accept the penalties I face,” said Wallen.
But these complaints did not materially affect his commercial position. Wallen’s latest album “Dangerous: The Double Album” is now spending its fifth consecutive week at number 1 on the Billboard album charts, with sales equivalent to 150,000 in the US. Wallen’s songs were streamed 146 million times, a slight decrease from 154 million the week before, but his traditional album sales jumped 49 percent to 37,000, more than enough to keep his reign number one.
Wallen’s previous 2018 album “If I Know Me” also spiked last week, jumping to number 10 on the charts, its highest position ever, down from number 17 the week before, Billboard said.
While Wallen’s behavior in Nashville, where issues of racial inequality in country music have long been overshadowed or pushed aside, has led to a soul search, some of the singer’s followers have portrayed him as a victim of the so-called “cancel culture”. ”
In his apology video, which followed an earlier written statement of regret, Wallen described the incident as part of a “72-hour bend”; he said he had been sober since then.
“One thing I’ve already learned, and I’m particularly sorry, is that my words matter, that words can really hurt a person, and at my core, I disagree with that,” said Wallen. “This week I’ve heard some personal firsthand stories from black people that honestly shocked me.”
In response to the surge in sales, singer and songwriter Jason Isbell, whose composition “Cover Me Up” was covered by Wallen on “Dangerous,” said last week that he would donate a portion of his proceeds from the album to the Nashville chapter of the NAACP. “Thank you for helping a good cause, folks,” Isbell wrote on Twitter, addressing Wallen’s audience.
Also on this week’s chart is “The Highlights,” a collection of the Weeknd’s biggest hits released before its Super Bowl performance, at # 2, largely thanks to streaming. Foo Fighters’ new album “Medicine at Midnight” is # 3, Memphis rapper Pooh Shiesty’s “Shiesty Season” debut is # 4, and Lil Durk’s “The Voice” dropped from # 2 to # 5.