Backed by the show’s host Keith Urban, who played piano and largely kept out of the spotlight for the performance, Guyton addressed the injustices faced by women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community, through the eyes of a parent trying to explain those injustices to their child.
“She thinks love is love, and if you work hard that’s enough/Skin is just skin and it doesn’t matter,” Guyton belted. “And that her friend’s older brother is gonna keep his hands to himself/And that somebody’s gonna believe her when she tells/So what are you gonna tell her when she’s wrong?”
Following the performance, fellow artists Jennifer Nettles, Cam, and more showed their support for Guyton on social media.
It’s really rare that you are aware of history happening as you watch a moment unfold. It’s even more rare to be friends with the woman who is responsible for that moment #MickeyMakesHistory #WhatAreYouGonnaTellHer #BlackExcellence #BlackGirlMagic #BlackCountryMusic pic.twitter.com/M8C7Prefe9
— Cam (@camcountry) September 17, 2020
Guyton released her latest EP, Bridges, earlier this month. The collection features “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” as well as the singer’s personal tale of racial inequality, “Black Like Me.”
For the first time in the ceremony’s 55-year history, the ACMs were held in Nashville due to the coronavirus pandemic, with artists performing at the Opry House, Bluebird Cafe, and, in pretaped segments, from the Ryman Auditorium.