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Maren Morris spoke, along with Luke Combs, at the Country Radio Seminar “Country Music Trailblazers” panel; among the topics addressed were the Confederate flag. Morris mentioned that she sees those flags in parking lots at country music festivals. She said, “I don’t want to play those festivals anymore. If you were a Black person, would you ever feel safe going to a show with those in the parking lot? No!”

When asked about radio’s role in creating a more inclusive musical culture for country music and how that might change its sound, Morris said, “Radio comes later. You’ve got to sign the Black artists, sign the Black writers first.”

She added, “We have to start at home. Black songwriters in the room making hit songs with us, feeling comfortable and welcome to do so, will change the sound of country radio for the better.”

Luke Combs said about his country music family, “We are proud of it. You hear the old adage that country music is a family. I believe that more than anything, but I want it to be a family that everyone can feel like they’re a part of. It has changed my life, it has changed my band’s life and my best friends’ lives that I write songs with. I want everyone that wants to feel that to be able to experience it because it’s an incredible feeling. I just want everyone out there to be able to be accepted and come into our community and not feel excluded or pushed out.”

Gallery: Maren Morris