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Lil Nas X Is First Out Gay Musician to Win Country Music Award

Lil Nas X Is First Out Gay Man to Win Prestigious Country Music Award

The yeehaw agenda cannot be stopped.

On Wednesday, Lil Nas X became the first out gay musician to take home a Country Music Association Award. He and collaborator Billy Ray Cyrus took home the “Musical Event of the Year” trophy for the remix of “Old Town Road,” which spent an unprecedented 20 weeks at no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The duo beat out some of the biggest names in country music to win the prestigious honor, besting established industry acts like Brooks & Dunn, Garth Brooks, and Maren Morris. Morris was in contention for “All My Favorite People,” which featured Brothers Osborne, and Brooks contended in the category with “Dive Bar,” aduet with Voice judge and dater of Gwen Stefani Blake Shelton. 

Although the ceremony took place at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, the winner of the category was announced on Good Morning America earlier that day. Lil Nas X reacted to the news on Twitter with the correct number of exclamation points.

In a delightful twist, taking home the honors also brought Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and producer Atticus Ross their first CMA trophies. “Old Town Road,” which blends trap and country, samples the band’s 2008 single "34 Ghosts IV,” which was itself nominated for a Grammy. The pair are also Oscar winners for their groundbreaking score for The Social Network.

Because this was the first year the CMAs handed out an award for “Musical Event of the Year,” there were no winners in the category last year.

Although Lil Nas X is the first gay musician to win a CMA for his own song, it isn’t the first time the show has handed out an award to an LGBTQ+ person. Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally both won for co-writing Kacey Musgraves’ LGBTQ+ anthem “Follow Your Arrow” in 2014. 

This is just the latest time Lil Nas X has made awards-show history in 2019, however. In August, Lil Nas X won “Song of the Year” at the MTV Video Music Awards, beating out titans like Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, and Drake. It was the first time a gay man had been honored in the category, which did not exist until 2018. 

Aside from Lil Nas X’s win big ahead of this month’s Grammy announcements, there was a lot to be excited about at last night’s CMAs. Gay icon Kacey Musgraves took home Video of the Year for yet another LGBTQ+ anthem, “Rainbow,” and also won Female Vocalist of the Year, while Ashley McBryde won Best New Artist. Morris, an also-ran in Lil Nas X’s category, still won Album of the Year for the acclaimed Girl.

Straight white men still dominated many of the evening’s top categories. Brooks was named Entertainer of the Year, Shelton won Single of the Year for “God’s Country,” and Luke Combs nabbed Song of the Year for “Beautiful Crazy.”

You can read the full list on Variety’s website.

NOTE: This story has been updated from a previous version.

RELATED | Lil Nas X Is First LGBTQ+ Musician to Win ‘Song of the Year’ at VMAs

Tags: Music

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