Country music star Mickey Guyton delivered a message of empowerment for Black women during her performance at the 55th Annual Country Music Awards on Wednesday.
Taking the stage along with fellow country singers Britney Spencer and Madeline Edwards, Guyton performed her self-love anthem “I Love My Hair” which was inspired by the story of 14-year-old Faith Fennidy, a student in Louisiana who was sent home from school in tears after being told that her box braid hair extensions were in violation the school's dress code. Fennidy's story resonated with Guyton, who previously sang about her encounters with racism growing up in Texas on "Black Like Me."
Since the incident, Fennidy has been working closely with Dove and The CROWN Coalition to pass The CROWN Act across the country “to end race-based hair discrimination in the workplace and schools so that other children do not have to experience the racist mistreatment she had to endure.”
Fennidy, who was also a presenter during the awards show, expressed her gratitude to Guyton for amplifying her story and the stories of so many other Black girls and Black women who have gone through similar experiences.
"This next artist created this song to make sure girls like me feel seen and loved. And that’s how you turn something very painful into very positive,” she said.
"I used to think what God gave me wasn't fair," Guyton sang, flanked by Spencer and Edwards.
"I'd braid it all just to hide the curls up there/ I found my freedom when I learned not to care/ Now I'm not scared to love who I am/ I love my hair,” she sang.
For an incredible finale, the trio harmonized the refrain of "I Love My Hair," as Fennidy joined them onstage and they embraced each other. In response, the audience rose to their feet with a thunderous round of applause.
During rehearsal sessions, Guyton told The Tennessean about the significance of her performance and the importance of Black women loving who they are.
“This song is about self-love," Guyton said. "We talk about loving our hair as Black women. It is also [about] truly loving who we are. I think so many of us are so mean to ourselves, and we need to learn to love ourselves a little bit. I really hope it touches a lot of people."