Kelsea Ballerini performed with drag queens at CMT awards a month after Tennessee’s ‘drag ban’

Country music lovers have once again united at the 2023 CMT Awards, but there was a little more controversy than usual.

Famed country singer Kelsea Ballerini, 29, was the host of this year’s ceremony – making headlines by revealing that she was in a relationship with actor Chase Stokes, 30.

During her monologue, Ballerini paid a heartfelt tribute to those killed in the recent Nashville school shooting, telling the audience: “I pray deeply that the closeness and the community that we feel for the next few hours through music can soon turn into action – like, real action – that moves us forward together to create change for the safety of our kids and our loved ones.”

She named all six people who lost their lives, as well as shared how she had witnessed the shooting of her 15-year-old classmate at their school’s cafeteria in 2008. “Tonight’s broadcast is dedicated to the ever-growing list of families, friends, survivors, witnesses, and responders whose lives continue to forever be changed by gun violence,” Ballerini stated, fighting back tears.

However, Ballerini didn’t stop there. In fact, the singer used her airtime to pay homage to drag queens, enlisting the help of famed RuPaul contestants Kennedy Davenport, Jan Sport, Olivia Lux, and Manila Luzon for her song ‘If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too)’.

Check out the incredible performance:

The movement appeared to be a jab at Tennessee’s latest controversial anti-drag laws, which prohibit “adult cabaret performances” in public spaces. A federal judge, however, temporarily blocked the ban just hours before it was set to go into effect, Fox News reported.

The outlet detailed that Trump-appointed District Judge Thomas Parker ruled in favor of Friends of George’s, a Memphis-based LGBTQ+ theater group who filed a lawsuit against Tennessee’s anti-drag law, which was originally set to go into effect on Saturday (April 1).

Taking to Twitter, Ballerini posted an image of herself with the drag queens, writing: “If you go down, i’m going down too […] // thank you to these iconic queens and [Manila Luzon, Kennedy Davenport, Jan Sport, Olivia Lux, and CMT] for celebrating love, self expression, and performance.”

While the move inspired legions of fans across the globe, many people were unhappy seeing drag queens enjoying themselves on stage. Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren lashed out in a series of tweets after the event, writing: “Y’all just don’t stop do you? Does everything have to be a platform to shove the rainbow mafia down our throats? Can you ever just do…idk…country freakin music?!!!!”

“Some of y’all blindly think this trans movement is about individuality and expression, no. It’s a manipulative and sneaky way for big Pharma to have a lock on these people for the rest of their lives. Wake up,” she wrote in a second tweet.

Yikes… What do you think about the situation? Let us know in the comments!

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