Trailblazing country artist Linda Martell will step back into the spotlight this week to receive a special honor during the 2021 CMT Music Awards.
Martell, 80, will be presented with the second annual CMT Equal Play Award, recognizing her legacy as one of country music’s first prominent Black female artists.
In 1969, Martell’s debut single “Color Him Father” reached No. 22 on Billboard’s Country Songs chart. That same year, she became the first Black female solo country artist to perform on the Grand Ole Opry.
In 1970, she released her debut album, “Color Me Country,” but her time in the spotlight was short-lived. Martell soon cut ties with her original label, Plantation Records, and by the mid-’70s, she had retired from the country music business.
Though under-recognized, Martell hasn’t been forgotten.
Martell’s granddaughter, Marquia Thompson, recently launched a successful GoFundMe campaign to produce a documentary about Martell’s life and career.
The 2021 CMT Music Awards air at 7 p.m. CMT Wednesday on CMT, MTV, MTV2, Logo, Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT Australia.