Mickey Guyton made history at last year’s Academy of Country Music Awards, becoming the first solo Black woman to ever perform at the show in its 55th year. Now, for 2021, she’ll return as one of the show’s hosts, joining last year’s emcee (and her pianist for that performance) Keith Urban for the gig. Urban has over a dozen ACM awards, including Entertainer of the Year from 2019, and is up for two more this year, both in Music Event of the Year. Guyton, meanwhile, was first nominated for New Female Vocalist of the Year in 2016 … and received her second nomination in that category this cycle, five years later. (An artist can be nominated in the ACM’s new artist categories multiple times.) Guyton, one of just a few Black musicians signed to a major country label, released her first extended play in five years, Bridges, in September 2020. “As I’ve said before, ‘If you can see it, you can be it,’ and it’s such an honor to step onto the ACM stage as the first ever Black woman to host the show,” she said in a statement. Guyton is also currently up for her first Grammy, in Best Country Solo Performance, for her stirring single “Black Like Me,” released in response to George Floyd’s 2020 death and the resulting protests against anti-Black racism. She’s set to perform the song at the awards show on March 14.
The ACMs will take place April 18, split between the Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Bluebird Cafe — just as they did in 2020, when they were postponed to September due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chris Stapleton and Maren Morris lead the nominations with six each. This year’s ceremony also features the most Black nominees ever, with Kane Brown (in Album of the Year), John Legend (in Video of the Year), and Jimmie Brown (in New Male Artist of the Year) joining Guyton.