Harris Blackwood: Award shows should entertain, not spew politics

With hundreds of channels blaring 24 hours a day, I guess it was inevitable that we would add some more award shows. We have awards for movies, television, movies and television, music of every genre and some that I’m not sure what they represent.

I like country music, not the current stuff, but the kind they play on the Grand Ole Opry. I did tune in last week and watch the Country Music Awards. I didn’t care for some of the music, but there was one thing I thoroughly loved: Politics was not mentioned, except for a few good-natured jabs.

I don’t know that I have seen an Oscar-winning movie in a couple of years. I’m still mad at the academy for snubbing “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Talladega Nights” and “No Time for Sergeants.” I have watched about five minutes of the Academy Awards recently and saw how it had denigrated into a place for unleashing your political venom.

This all started in 1973 when Marlon Brando won the Oscar for Best Actor in “The Godfather.” He didn’t show up to accept his award and sent a Native American woman named Sacheen Littlefeather to read a speech about Hollywood’s mistreatment of Native Americans.

If you hate the president or love guns, that’s your right. But an awards show for some type of performing arts is not the time or place to argue the case for your cause.

I’ll give the CMA credit, too, for honoring those who died during the past year. It include some of the old-timers of country music, who paved the way for today’s artists. They also remembered our Georgia son, Warren “Rhubarb” Jones, who left us much too early in April of this year.

Carrie Underwood did a masterful job singing “Softly and Tenderly.” I was amazed that network gurus allow a song mentioning Jesus in a favorable light to be sung on national TV without some counterbalance of Allah, Buddha or none of the above. 

The tribute ended with photographs of the 58 people who died in the mass shooting at a country music concert in Las Vegas. Underwood became emotional during this final portion of the memorial.

This was the 51st CMA awards program. The first one was in 1967. That year, Eddy Arnold, the Tennessee plowboy, was named Entertainer of the Year. He beat a field that included Bill Anderson, Merle Haggard, Sonny James and Buck Owens. Anderson, a Georgia native, is the only one of that group still alive and he is a regular on the Grand Ole Opry.

The 1967 song of the year and male vocalist went to Jack Greene, who sand “There Goes My Everything,” a country classic. The female vocalist of the year was Loretta Lynn.

From the pictures I’ve seen, it was more like a Rotary club meeting than a glitzy awards show. All the men wore suits and even Minnie Pearl, famous for her simple cotton dress and hat with price tag still attached, wore an evening gown and had her hair coiffed.

I know that folks aren’t going to dress up anymore and that’s OK. I just wish some of the other awards shows would take a cue from CMA and leave their politics at the door.


Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.

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