Kelsea Ballerini showed support for drag queens amidst the controversial bill that lawmakers are attempting to put into place in Nashville, Tennessee, where she lives. At the CMT Awards on April 2, Kelsea hit the stage for a performance of her song “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down, Too)”, and she invited four drag queens onstage with her.
— Ian Saint (@iansaint_) April 3, 2023
The performance comes just days after Kelsea released the highly-anticipated music video for her latest hit, which features a Don’t Worry Darlin’-inspired plot. The video is set in a classic ‘60s/’70s cul-de-sac community, featuring the retro fashion Kelsea rocked for tonight’s performance and some nosy neighbors. Safe to say, we prefer the drag queens she had on stage at the CMT Awards! Similar to the music video, Kelsea played off her sweetheart act, while simultaneously plotting some seriously heinous acts with her equally crazy girlfriends. It was a fun break from her hosting duties to take the stage in what was her 5th outfit of the evening.
Kelsea’s decision to include drag queens in her CMT Music Awards performance is pointed, as it comes after a federal judge has temporarily blocked Tennessee’s controversial law banning drag shows, just hours before it was meant to take effect. The first-of-its-kind legislation was considered too vague and broad and the state didn’t provide a good reason for why it would benefit Tennessee, US District Judge Thomas Parker wrote in his ruling. Country artists including Maren Morris, Sheryl Crow and more gathered at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena last week to perform and benefit the Tennessee Equality Project, Inclusion Tennessee, Out Memphis, and the Tennessee Pride Chamber in partnership with Looking Out Foundation.
This wasn’t the only time Kelsea got political this evening. She opened up the CMT Music Awards with an emotional tribute to the lives lost at the tragic Covenant School shooting in Nashville on March 27th. She told the crowd while standing on a dimmed stage, “Three 9 year olds, Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, William Kinney, along with Katherine Koonce, Cynthia Peak and Mike Hill walked into the Covenant School and didn’t walk out. The community of sorrow over this and the 130 mass shootings in the US this year alone stretches from coast to coast.” She went on to recall witnessing the loss of her high school classmate to gun violence in the school cafeteria.
— DarleneRaye (@DarleneRaye13) April 3, 2023
“Tonight’s broadcast is dedicated to the ever-growing list of families, friends, survivors, witnesses and responders whose lives continue to forever be changed by gun violence,” she continued. “I pray deeply that the closeness and the community that we feel through the next few hours of music can turn into action, like real action, that moves us forward together to create change for the safety of our kids and our loved ones.”