Mike Huckabee joined a country music board. He lasted one day.

You remember Mike Huckabee, right?

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Ran for president (twice)? Vehemently opposes basic rights for LGBTQ people? Once compared his losing weight to being in a concentration camp? That's him!


Huckabee was named the newest board member for the Country Music Association Foundation on Feb. 28.

The guitar-playing conservative firebrand has supported music education and pushed back against President Donald Trump's threats to defund the National Endowment for the Arts, so the job title might make sense on paper.

But news of Huckabee's new role went south. Fast.

The foundation — which focuses on promoting music education programs and generally stays out of politics — was quickly and sharply criticized for embracing the polarizing former governor from Arkansas.

"It was announced Wednesday that Mike Huckabee has been appointed/elected to the CMA Foundation Board. Yes, that Mike Huckabee," read a post on music industry website Hits Daily Double. "There’s great concern and protest over the appointment, and rightfully so. Many in Nashville are sharing feelings of embarrassment for our country and industry."

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

The most vocal critic may have been country music powerhouse Jason Owen, whose management company, Sandbox, oversees performers like Faith Hill and Little Big Town.

In an open letter to CMA executives published on Hits Daily Double, Owen, who is openly gay, slammed the "grossly offensive decision" to give Huckabee such an influential role at the foundation.

Jason Owen (left) and Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern (middle) in 2017. Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images for Billboard Magazine.

"It is with a heavy heart that I must let you know moving forward, Sandbox and Monument will no longer support the CMA Foundation in any way (this includes everyone we represent collectively), considering the heartbreaking news shared today regarding Mike Huckabee appointee/elected to the CMA Foundation," Owen wrote.

The letter continued (emphasis added):

"As you may know, I have a child and two on the way. This man has made it clear that my family is not welcome in his America. And the CMA has opened their arms to him, making him feel welcome and relevant. Huckabee speaks of the sort of things that would suggest my family is morally beneath his and uses language that has a profoundly negative impact upon young people all across this country. Not to mention how harmful and damaging his deep involvement with the NRA is. What a shameful choice."

Shortly after Owen's letter went public, Huckabee resigned.

All in all, he lasted just about 24 hours in the role.

In a blog post shared on his website, Huckabee criticized the backlash: "The message here is 'hate wins,'" he wrote. "Bullies succeeded in making it untenable to have 'someone like me' involved."

In a tweet sharing the blog post, the former governor quipped that "Anthony 'The Mooch' Scaramucci lasted longer than me [as White House Communications Director]."

Many supporters are standing in Huckabee's corner. "Excellent article, governor," one Twitter user wrote in response to Huckabee's blog. "I stand with you."

"This is such a shame, Mike, but I'm not surprised," another chimed in. "Country music is now filled with liberals who only want those who align with their views to be heard."

Huckabee's ousting, however, shows why no one should peg country music — or its fans — into one (homophobic) hole.

The genre has built a reputation for attracting a more conservative fan base throughout the years. But any kind of music is best when the bigotry's kept on mute. And country is no exception.

Courtesy of Back on My Feet
True

Having graduated in the top 10% of Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) cadets nationwide in 2012, Pat Robinson was ready to take on a career in the Air Force full speed ahead.

Despite her stellar performance in the classroom and training grounds, Robinson feared other habits she'd picked up at Ohio University had sent her down the wrong tracks.

First stationed near Panama City, Florida, Robinson became reliant on alcohol while serving as an air battle manager student. After barnstorming through Atlanta's nightclubs on New Year's Eve, Robinson failed a drug test and lied to her commanding officer about the results.

Eleven months later, she was dismissed. Feeling ashamed and directionless, Robinson briefly returned home to Cleveland before venturing west to look for work in San Francisco.

After a brief stint working at a paint store, Robinson found herself without a source of income and was relegated to living in her car. Robinson's garbage can soon became littered with parking tickets and her car was towed. Golden Gate Park's cool grass soon replaced her bed.

"My substance abuse spiraled very quickly," Robinson said. "You name it, I probably used it. Very quickly I contracted HIV and Hepatitis C. I was arrested again and again and was finally charged and sentenced to substance abuse treatment."

Keep Reading Show less

As I was doomscrolling through Twitter yesterday, the wording of an Associated Press post caught my eye. "The Supreme Court will allow absentee ballots in North Carolina to be received and counted up to 9 days after Election Day, in a win for Democrats," it read.

A win for Democrats? Surely they meant a win for Americans? For voters? For democracy?


Keep Reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Claudia Romo Edelman
True

When the novel coronavirus hit the United States, life as we knew it quickly changed. As many people holed up in their homes, some essential workers had to make the impossible choice of going to work or quitting their jobs— a choice they continue to make each day.

Because over 80 percent of working Hispanic adults provide essential services for the U.S. economy, the Hispanic community is disproportionately affected. Hispanic families are also much more likely to live in multigenerational households, carrying the extra risk of infecting the most vulnerable. In fact, Hispanics are 20 times more likely than other patients to test positive for COVID-19.

Claudia Romo Edelman saw a community in desperate need of guidance and support. And she created Hispanic Star, a non-profit designed to help Hispanic people in the U.S. pull together as a proud, unified group and overcome barriers — the most pressing of which is the effects of the pandemic.

Because the Hispanic community is so diverse, unification is, and was, an enormous challenge.

Photo credit: Hispanic Star

Keep Reading Show less

Electing Donald Trump to be president of the United States set an incredibly ugly example for the nation's youth.

We know how it's affected the national discourse of regular adults. But there's no denying the conduct of a president impacts how children around the world see the example being set for them. Every day for the past four years, children have been subjected to the behavior of a divisive figure that many of their parents chose to exalt to the most powerful office in the world.

Sure, adults can make excuses for him saying he's an "imperfect messenger" or that they "didn't vote for him to be reverend," but these are all just ways to rationalize voting for a man with zero character. What a message to send to children: Act awful and you'll be handsomely rewarded.

But what if you took away the "Trump" name and examined the character traits of him as an ordinary person? More specifically, what if your daughter came to you and said this was the kind of person she was planning to date? Well, one MAGA family found out and the results are funny, insightful and quite revealing about how we somehow hold our leaders to different and lower standards than we expect from ourselves in our day to day lives.

Keep Reading Show less

After years of advocating for racial justice and calling out police brutality and seeing little change in law enforcement and our justice system, some people are rightfully fed up. When complaints are met with inaction, protests are met with inaction, and direct action is met with inaction, maybe it's time to get specific in who needs to be held accountable for issues in law enforcement.

That's exactly what Keiajah (KJ) Brooks did at a Board of Police Commissioners meeting in her hometown of Kansas City this week. The 20-year-old used her approximately four minutes with the microphone—and with the commissioners' undivided attention—to unequivocally lay out her position to each and every one of the officials in that room.

"Fair warning, I'm not nice and I don't seek to be respectable," she began. "I'm not asking y'all for anything because y'all can't and won't be both my savior and my oppressor. I don't want reform. I want to turn this building into luxury low-cost housing. These would make some really nice apartments."

"Firstly, stop using Black children as photo opportunities, 'cause they're cute now, but in 10 years, they're Black male suspects in red shirts and khaki shorts," she said. "Eating cookies and drinking milk with children does not absolve you of your complicity in their oppression and denigration..." she added, before looking directly at the police chief and pointedly calling him out by name, "...Rick Smith."

Keep Reading Show less