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Death of Black Country Star Charley Pride Raises Questions About CMAs’ COVID Guidelines

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 11: (FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Charley Pride performs onstage during the The 54th Annual CMA Awards at Nashville’s Music City Center on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMA)

On December 12, country star Charley Pride became another one of the well over one million people dead from COVID-19 across the world.

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What makes the death of Pride especially frustrating at this particular moment is that he attended the Country Music Awards back on November 11, and it was a mask-less event. According to reports, he was admitted into the hospital in late November, just two weeks after the event.

Pride was at the event to accept the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award.

The 86-year-old was considered country music’s first African-American superstar, having produced 29 number 1 hits between 1969 and 1983, charting 67 singles, and in 1971, being named the CMA Entertainer of the Year.

Concerning fears that attending the CMA event may have led to contracting COVID, The New York Times reports that:

“Organizers of the event said at the time that they were “following all protocols” for dealing with Covid-19, but some in attendance were not wearing masks. Mr. Pride’s publicist said that he tested negative twice for the coronavirus after returning home. He was subsequently hospitalized for what doctors thought was double pneumonia, but which was determined to be Covid-19.”

So, despite whatever rapid test was given to him, it wasn’t enough to ensure that the event was truly COVID-free, because just by having an in-person event with that many people puts those in vulnerable demographics, like Pride, at risk.

Regardless of whether he contracted COVID at the event or not, Pride is still another man, another Black man, who died from this pandemic in the United States who didn’t have to. Now, yet another family will have to find a way to mourn someone who meant so much to so many, in the midst of all this chaos and madness. Still, as we mourn his needless death, it is important to remember the man who broke boundaries, starting off the son of sharecroppers and ending up one of the most important country music stars of his time.

(via CMT, image: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMA)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.

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