Jennifer Nettles has been named as the inaugural recipient of the new CMT Equal Play Award. The Sugarland member and solo artist will receive the honor during Wednesday night's (Oct. 21) 2020 CMT Music Awards.

“Jennifer Nettles is that rare artist who speaks her truth, calling out injustice wherever she sees it,” says Leslie Fram, CMT's senior vice president of music strategy. “Her commitment to equal female representation across the board in the music industry embodies the spirit of our equal play initiative and makes her the perfect recipient of the inaugural CMT Equal Play Award."

An advocate for and supporter of women in the music industry, the LGBTQ+ community, sexual assault victims, people of color and other underrepresented and oppressed groups, Nettles often preaches compassion and understanding, both in her music and in interviews and public appearances. At the 2019 CMA Awards, the 2016 CMT Next Women of Country Tour headliner made a statement on the red carpet by wearing a pink satin cape embroidered with the words "Play our F---in' Records, Please & Thank You," a woman's face, the equality sign and the words "Equal Play."

“As a proud part of the beautiful legacy of women in country music, I am honored to be the first recipient of the CMT Equal Play Award," Nettles reflects. "I look forward to celebrating the contributions of women, and all marginalized communities, within the country music format, and I am motivated in encouraging the non-artists, executives and investors in the industry to do the same. There is much work still to be done."

The CMT Equal Play Award is an extension of the brand's Equal Play initiative, launched in 2019. As of January, CMT and CMT Music TV networks have committed to 50/50 female-to-male music video airplay, while CMT radio properties have instituted similar policies.

The 2020 CMT Music Awards, hosted by Ashley McBryde, Kane Brown and actor Sarah Hyland, will air beginning at 8PM ET on Wednesday, on CMT, MTV, MTV2, Logo, Paramount Network, Pop and TV Land. The annual awards show was postponed from June due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Now, rather than putting the show inside Bridgestone Arena, CMT has opted to pre-tape performances at spots throughout Music City, and the show's hosts will be live with winners during the night.

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