Jennifer Nettles stepped into the Country Music Association Award’s red carpet with an outfit that called for “equal play.” Nettles dressed up in an outfit that was designed by Christian Siriano in collaboration with Alice Mizrachi, an NYC street artist. The outfit became the talk of social media users, especially the message on the inside of her cape: “Play our f----- records please and thank you.”
In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Nettles says, “I think there was a collective gasp. I absolutely felt it. And I thought ‘Great, I believe this is going to do what I want it to do’ which is continue this conversation. Sure enough, the whole rest of the carpet...it was the conversation starter — and continues to be.”
The singer’s outfit was also fueled by the confirmation of studies that there is gender bias on airwaves. The studies further confirmed that women’s songs were played significantly less than of men’s. One report also states that men to women ratio on the radio from the previous year was 9.7 to 1.
Algorithms of streaming services were also studied and showed that many users favored male performers. Spotify, a well-known streaming service also acknowledged this after artist Martina McBride made a statement about it. Other female artists who have also spoken about gender disparity in country music include Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire, Shania Twain, and Miranda Lambert.
Nettles also says that she was very cautious when creating her message and dictated it word for word.
She states, “Look, I’m wise enough to know how photographs work and I knew that if I actually used the expletive it wouldn’t get printed in some outlets... [So] I thought let’s make this fun and cheeky then. Let’s cartoon it out — the explicative itself — but it will send the message and the adults will know what it means. And on the other side it will say ‘please and thank you,’ because I am mannerly of course.”