The CMT Awards features fan-voted country music videos and live performances annually on the CMT Channel in Nashville, Tennessee.
In an effort to be more inclusive of other cultures, the CMT Awards recently began inviting Black performers.
This year the show was co-hosted by actor Anthony Mackie and featured performances by Jimmie Allen and R&B singer Monica.
Last week a white reporter, Patrick Howley, complained about Black artists at the awards show.
“There were so many Black people there,” Howley said. “Sorry to say, but so many Black celebrities who have nothing to do with country music and it’s, like, why?”
He also criticized Mackie for hosting the CMT Awards on Monday.
“I don’t know who this Black guy who’s hosting it. It’s supposed to be country music. No offense. I mean, y’all have hip-hop and basketball… Just fly with your flock, bro.”
Howley played a tape of Mackie hosting the CMT Awards and imitated a Black accent to mock the actor: “The melanated people invented country music! We was making country music in Wakanda before Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard done stole the Black man’s country music!”
After his comments drew backlash on Twitter, Howley claimed he isn’t racist because he listens to Black music.
“No disrespect to the funky brothers,” he continued. “I love Earth Wind and Fire, Run DMC, etc. But country music’s different… It’s not Wakanda.”