Mickey Guyton Gladys Knight
Screengrab via YouTube

Mickey Guyton, Breland Perform with Gladys Knight on the 2021 CMT Music Awards

Gladys Knight, the legendary leader of The Pips and singer of Jim Weatherly's "Midnight Train to Georgia," joined two of country music's top African American performers on Wednesday night's (June 9) CMT Music Awards broadcast for a genre line-blurring performance of "Friendship Train."

The segment began with Mickey Guyton and Breland singing the latter's "Cross Country." That gave way to both artists lending a helping hand to Knight as she revisited a hit from 1970.

It was a big night for cross-genre collaborators, with H.E.R. joining Chris Stapleton on stage during the broadcast plus award wins for John Legend (for his Carrie Underwood duet "Hallelujah") and Halsey (for her and Kelsea Ballerini's "The Other Girl" performance at the previous year's show).

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In all likelihood, Black women had more of a platform at this year's CMT Music Awards than they did on any country music-themed broadcast since the advent of television. Beyond Knight and H.E.R.'s appearances and Guyton's latest opportunity to prove she's one of the top vocal talents in Nashville, CMT honored the first Black woman to perform as a solo artist on the Grand Ole Opry stage, Linda Martell, with its Equal Play Award.

Here's a roundup of last night's winners.

Video of the Year- Carrie Underwood & John Legend - "Hallelujah"

Female Video of the Year-  Gabby Barrett - "The Good Ones"

Male Video of the Year- Kane Brown - "Worship You"

Duo/Group Video of the Year- Little Big Town - "Wine, Beer, Whiskey"

Breakthrough Video of the Year- Dylan Scott - "Nobody"

Collaborative Video of the Year- Chris Young and Kane Brown - "Famous Friends"

CMT Performance of the Year- From the 2020 CMT Music Awards - Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey - "The Other Girl"

CMT Social Video of the Year- Taylor Swift - "The Best Day (Taylor's Version)"

CMT Equal Play Award- Linda Martell

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