Photo Courtesy of Terry Wyatt for Getty Images

Preston Hollow neighbor Charley Pride received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement award at the 54th Country Music Association Awards this past Wednesday. Pride now joins the likes of Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Kenny Rogers as the sixth recipient. 

Pride is known for his country hits, including the Billboard US Country number one album, “The Country Way.” He was also awarded the CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1971 and inducted into the CMA Hall of Fame in 2000. Pride is also one of the few Black artists to receive membership in the Grand Ole Opry.

Considered a trailblazer for Black country artists, Pride has received significant admiration from younger Black singers.

Jimmie Allen, who joined Pride on Wednesday to sing “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin,’ previously stated that he would “honestly not be here” without Pride’s work. Allen also presented Pride with his award.

Darius Rucker, who hosted the ceremony on Wednesday with Reba McEntire, said, “I remember saying to myself, ‘You can put up with whatever happens here because whatever happens to you is not going to be 1/10th, 1/100th of what Charley Pride went through” on podcast Color Me Country with Rissi Palmer. Rucker also stated, “And now, decades and decades later, to be part of him getting an award…There’s nobody that deserves it more than Charley. Nobody.”

Rucker is only the second Black host of the CMA Awards. Pride was the first, hosting the event with Glen Campbell in 1975.

When accepting the award, Pride thanked many people in his life saying, “And all my fans, I just wanted to say thank you. I’m through talking I guess, I’m just going to thank everybody again.”

Watch part of Pride’s acceptance speech below.


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