Reba McEntire Dons White Rose, Talks #MeToo and #TimesUp Backstage at the 2018 Grammy Awards
As she walked the red carpet at the 2018 Grammy Awards in New York City, Reba McEntire stood out. Yes, she was walking the red carpet as a soon-to-be winner in the Best Roots Gospel Album category, but she was also walking the red carpet with a white rose prominently displayed on her dress.
As actors and actresses did at the 2018 Golden Globes, musicians and artists wanted to stand up for women's rights and the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, and the white rose is the universal symbol for that at the 2018 Grammys. While many artists walked the red carpet with roses pinned to their clothes, there was something especially brave about McEntire's choice; after all, she's a woman in Nashville, and historically, the majority of country artists don't get involved in political and social discussions.
"My message is, I want to treat you like I want to be treated," McEntire explains backstage following her acceptance of the 2018 Grammys trophy for Best Roots Gospel Album, for Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope. "I want to treat you like I want to be treated. It's the golden rule. If we did that more often, more of these problems would be non-existent. Let's just treat people kindly."
With the white rose comes a discussion about openness and vulnerability, something McEntire has not shied away from in her career.
"A long time ago I did this song called "She Thinks His Name Was John,"" McEntire recalls. "At the time, it was so new, I didn't know anybody who was HIV-positive. I thought if I could sing about it and get it out in the open, some of the darkness would go away and we could talk about it."
"Any kind of communication is great," she adds. "If we get all this out in the open and hopefully heal a lot ... that's where the music comes in. Music is a great healer, and then we can move forward."
When it comes to Nasvhille and country music specifically, McEntire admits she has never faced an issue with her gender, and quickly brushes aside the claim that she's brave for wearing a rose.
"I gotta tell you, I've never had a problem at all," she says. "I've had great mentors, and 99 percent of them were men in the music business. They encouraged, they helped, they guided me ... from Red Steagall to Jerry Kennedy to Jimmy Bowen ... Scott Borchetta, Jim Weatherson and the late Bill Hearn."
Backstage at the Grammys, McEntire ended her thoughts on the topic with hope and optimism from her personal experience: "Everybody has been very enthusiastic and and encouraging in my career," she says. "I'm very blessed and very grateful."
See Country Stars Walk the 2018 Grammy Award Red Carpet