Shania Twain is standing up for others in country music.
The legendary star in the genre used her acceptance speech for the Equal Play Award at Sunday’s CMT Awards to call for more equity and diversity in the country music industry.
“When I wrote the phrase ‘Man I feel like a woman’ I honestly had no idea at the time it would become an undercurrent of a decades-long career,” she said, referring to one of her biggest hits. “It’s amazing how one statement can empower so many.”
The phrase, Twain said, “has been adopted by an array of fantastic communities all around the world and become a genuine path of power…which brings me so much joy.”
“I believe in an all-inclusive country music. We’re family,” Twain said. “This is a genre of music with a rich history that raised and nurtured my own songwriting and performance and recording career from childhood. Currently, the industry standard does a real disservice to this.”
Twain, who was presented the award by rapper Megan Thee Stallion, shouted out some of the diverse acts she is spotlighting on her “Queen of Me” tour this year, including Lily Rose, Lindsay Ell, Hailey Whitters, Mickey Guyton and others.
“I will continue to do my best as a trailblazer,” Twain said. “Together, let’s ensure all our fellow artists get equal play regardless of gender, age or race.”
She also performed acappella with the African American singing group, The BoykinZ, while presenting an award onstage. Twain connected with the group, who are sisters and rising country stars, after Kelly Clarkson surprised them recently by bringing Twain out to meet them during an episode of Clarkson’s daytime talk show.