Kelsea Ballerini looks back on backlash after iconic CMT performance

Kelsea Ballerini looks back on backlash after iconic CMT performance

In an interview on the Call Her Daddy podcast, the country star spoke about the backlash she received after performing onstage with RuPaul's Drag Race stars Kennedy Davenport, Olivia Lux, Jan Sport, and Manila Luzon at the 2023 CMT Music Awards. 

Ballerini performed her single "If You Go Down (I'm Goin' Down Too)" with the four drag queens at the awards show in April. The performance came nearly a month after Tennessee signed Senate Bill 3 and House Bill 9 into law, which ban drag performances from occurring on any public property or location where children could be in attendance.





"What I’ll say is I can’t imagine what it feels like to be the drag queen on stage because the hate that I got for that was the loudest I’ve ever gotten from the public, but it doesn’t compare to what they’re getting all the time," said Ballerini.

"It really put me in my place and checked me," she explained. "I’ve always been an ally, but what does it mean, you know?" 

For the “If You Go Down” singer timing of the political climate played a big part in her performance. "I just felt like it was a really important time to show up in a way that I could on a stage that felt really important."

While it was nice to show up as an ally for the community, Kelsea says she also learned an important lesson about living authentically. 



"My lesson from that was, like, what I felt from the backlash times a million is literally what they go through to express themselves, to love who they love, to be who they are, whatever it is," she said. "And that, to me, was a really, really eye-opening takeaway."

Listen to her full podcast episode down below for more. 

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