Mickey Guyton is breaking new ground in country music. The talented songstress was celebrated at the 2021 CMT Artists of the Year event on Wednesday, where she got emotional and inspirational while accepting the Breakthrough Artist of the Year honor.
Guyton took the stage and addressed the audience with tears of joy already welling in her eyes as she reflected on the challenges she's faced as a Black woman trying to carve out her place in the country music landscape.
"When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window, and in my case he shattered a whole glass ceiling," Guyton told the audience. "Three years ago this was not even a possibility for me, and I'd completely given up on myself and my dream to sing a genre of music that I hold so close to my heart."
"It wasn't until I had a conversation with my husband and he told me to me to be authentically me, unapologetically, and write from my experience as a Black woman living in America," she continued. "It changed my life and I made it my life's purpose to show that country music really is everyone's music. If you just take a moment and step outside of yourselves, you will see and hear some of the most beautiful music that you'll ever hear from so many amazing people."
Guyton then dedicated the award to those she hopes to inspire and be able to one day support in their own journeys.
"So to that little 7-year-old Black girl at home, to that indigenous boy, to that LGBTQIA+ teen, and that Latino boy or girl, and anyone marginalized and unseen -- and yes, even to the haters on social media -- this is for you," she said, holding the trophy in the air. "I am here for you. I am my sister's keeper."
She concluded by thanking Nashville for the honor, sharing, "I am blown away. I am so grateful. So many of you guys put me on a platform when you had no incentive to do so, and I take that and I honor it and I will do the same moving forward for other up-and-coming artists."
ET's Cassie DiLaura spoke with Guyton on the red carpet ahead of the ceremony, and the Remember Her Name singer opened up about how it felt to receive the honor.
"I'm just so so grateful for this moment," Guyton marveled. "I would not be here without the community of Nashville. There's so many people in that room who lifted me up, no one needed to do so, they did it out of the kindness of their hearts and because of that I don't take it for granted that I'm standing here."
"All I want to do is just continuing to open the door for so many talented people because that's what it's all about," she added.
As for her acceptance speech remarks about "haters on social media," Guyton has had her fair share. However, the singer said she got some advice from Carrie Underwood: "They can't hurt you if you can't hear them."
"Online, some people feel the need to bully, and it's so hard not to let that stuff get to you," she said. "But then Carrie was like, 'Stay offline. They can't get to you if you can't hear them,' and I think that is a lesson that I think everyone should learn... So I just mute, block, delete, or don't even engage, don't even look at it."
Check out the video below to hear more about this year's groundbreaking CMT Breakthrough Artist of the Year!