Death of Black Country Star Charley Pride Raises Questions About CMAs’ COVID Guidelines
On December 12, country star Charley Pride became another one of the well over one million people dead from COVID-19 across the world.
We are deeply saddened by the passing of trailblazing legend Charley Pride, who through talent, courage & determination, made history by becoming the genre’s first Black superstar. We send our condolences to his family during this difficult time. https://t.co/CThdBM284k pic.twitter.com/N0XgnQRCjh
— CMA Country Music (@CountryMusic) December 12, 2020
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.
We’re saddened to hear about the loss of the legendary Charley Pride. He was a true gentleman with a kind heart. Our thoughts are with his loved ones. His music has made a huge impact on the three of us and on the world. #CharleyPride pic.twitter.com/Q2g7bu72Zn
— The Chicks (@thechicks) December 13, 2020
Heartbreaking. I truly loved my friend, Charley Pride. The world will never be the same. He was one of the very best things that ever happened to country music. I’m all tears tonight. #charleypride #KissAnAngelGoodMorning #ihatecovid19 pic.twitter.com/5iOdJNbDuv
— Loretta Lynn (@LorettaLynn) December 13, 2020
(via CMT, image: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMA)
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