Kane Brown Felt Tokenized After Winning ACM Award: ‘I Felt They Were Just Giving Me A Handout’

Kane Brown is speaking out about breaking barriers in country music and how recent accolades left him feeling tokenized.

Brown spoke to Billboard magazine along with Mickey Guyton and Brothers Osborne for a new cover story about country’s “more inclusive future.”

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When the artists were asked if they wonder whether the influx of requests and recognition is because of the quality of their music or because of “a different reason”, Brown spoke about his experience winning an ACM Award for Video of the Year for “Worldwide Beautiful.”

“I just won my first ACM Award, and it wasn’t like, ‘Congratulations on winning your first ACM. How does it feel?’ It was like, ‘How does it feel being Black and winning your first ACM?’” Brown says. “So in my head, I was like, ‘I feel like I’m about to win this award because of everything going on right now.’”

RELATED: Kane Brown Becomes First Black Solo Artist To Win ACM ‘Video Of The Year’ Ahead Of Ceremony

“I felt like they were just giving me a handout,” he added. “And luckily, I had a lot of country artists and my team be like, ‘No, you worked your ass off. You deserve it.’ This year has been crazy. If you talk about how you feel, you get bashed. If you don’t talk about it, you get bashed. Just trying to find where your place is has been the hardest part for me this year.”

It’s possible Brown may elaborate more on this experience in his music. “I tend to channel a lot of my honest feelings or experiences into my songs,” Brown shared. “I’m very open with my fans about my life, but I also try to stay positive. It’s honestly a balance I’m figuring out, but a barrier comes down when writing lyrics.”

Speaking about his experience writing his 2016 single “Learning”, Brown said it “was a way to talk about growing up, and I hope when other people hear that song or other songs of mine that it gives them hope.”

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