In February, TMZ leaked footage of the rising country star Morgan Wallen using a racial slur. What followed was a culture clash within the genre, which continues to dominate headlines. Marking their stance against Wallen's display of racism, many radio stations cut back on Wallen's airplay while streaming services dropped his music from their set playlists. But in response, Morgan Wallen fans rallied around the "canceled" celeb, purchasing his music to the point that album sales skyrocketed. Dangerous: the Double Album spent an unprecedented ten weeks atop the US Billboard 200: a record for any top country album.
That surprising success was met with further industry resistance. Three weeks ago, the Country Music Association (CMA) announced that due to the slur controversy, Wallen would not be eligible for any individual artist categories, including entertainer of the year, in their upcoming awards. Now, fan-funded billboards have appeared around Nashville, Tennessee protesting that decision by the CMA Board of Directors. And they're sparking even more contention -- for perhaps an unexpected reason.
The Morgan Wallen Billboards
NY haircare company goes after Morgan Wallen fans & their billboards https://t.co/GPeXuUdWck
— 92.3 WCOL (@923WCOL) June 11, 2021
CMT's decision to bar singer Morgan Wallen from competing in individual categories in this year's CMT Music Awards maintained the ethos of this season's previous awards shows; Wallen was prohibited entirely from competing in the 2021 ACM Awards and the 2021 CMT Music Awards. (Though Wallen was included as a Billboard Music Awards finalist, he was not allowed to attend the show.) But this time, defenders of the country artist are pushing back with some highly public billboards around Nashville, Tennessee.
Six red billboards apparently paid for "Darleen Ingram and loyal fans," were placed around high-traffic areas of downtown Nashville. The most viral one declares: "The fans are speaking. Enough is enough. Music industry, we want to be heard!" Another says "Support that boy from East Tennessee" and another, "His Fan's Choice: Entertainer of the Year." All of them feature the hashtag #GAHT, Wallen's catch-all catchphrase, as well as a reference to the bible verse Mark 11:25, which is about forgiveness. All the billboards also display the unmistakable white silhouette of a mullet -- Wallen's signature hairstyle. And it's that visual addition that's drawing particular ire.
Miracle Flow and the Mullet Logo
According to Rolling Stone, a New York hair-care company called Miracle Flow is speaking out against the new billboards. Miracle Flow markets their products toward men with long hair and, as such, uses a distinct mullet image as their logo. The very same image, it would seem, that appears across Nashville's various pro-Wallen billboards. In a post on social media, the company wrote "We get it ... we have a sick logo but we just sell shampoo and funny tee shirts we're not getting dragged into this one....🤷♂️" alongside a text frame explaining the mix-up:
"It was brought to our attention that our mullet logo was being used on a billboard in downtown Nashville to promote a country music singer. Miracle Flow well not disputing that he has a glorious mullet currently has no affiliation or endorsement deals with the artist or the billboards. We are working with our legal team to have the our logo removed ... so please don't cancel us as well."
As for whether Miracle Flow fears cancellation by the intensely loyal Wallen fans or, well, just about everyone who abhors the singer-songwriter's use of the N-word is unclear. But one thing is for sure: Darleen Ingram and co.'s mullet logo looks awfully similar to the Miracle Flow logo. See their Instagram posts to see for yourself. Since the event, Miracle Flow has been meme-ing the situation, no doubt for the benefit of business... in the front. In true mullet form, Miracle Flow is responding with a series of cheeky posts. Check them out below, courtesy of the Miracle Flow Instagram.
The mullet is back, whether you like it or not. From city hipsters to rustic traditionalists, the cross-country appeal of this distinct, shaggy style has never been stronger. Wallen is just one of the many stars today sporting the 'do. And though Miracle Flow called it a "glorious mullet" in their now-viral post, country singer Blake Shelton thinks Wallen's attempt is "pretty weak." Speaking to the radio station 100.3 The Wolf over the winter, Shelton said Wallen's mullet "is kind of like a bob haircut." Ouch.