Adeem the Artist Says They Suffered ‘Transphobic Cruelty’ During AmericanaFest


The songwriter, who identifies as nonbinary, criticized the Americana Music Association for not publicly acknowledging an incident they allege occurred at the Americana Awards

Adeem the Artist, the nonbinary songwriter who earned raves for their 2022 album White Trash Revelry, is criticizing the Americana Music Association in an open letter published Wednesday night. The “Middle of a Heart” singer, who was nominated for Emerging Artist of the Year at last week’s Americana Honors & Awards ceremony, claimed they were accosted by another artist backstage at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium during the awards and that the Americana Music Association failed to acknowledge it publicly.

“The disturbing reality is that the single most homophobic and transphobic cruelty I’ve experienced to my face happened in a space that touts its inclusivity with remarkable pride,” Adeem wrote.

Adeem the Artist declined to identify the artist in the letter or go into detail about the alleged incident, but pointed out the blue lipstick they wore “earned me the ire of a fellow musician who was sharing a green room with me.” (Adeem performed “Middle of a Heart” at the Americana Honors while wearing the white suit Tyler Childers wore to the 2018 ceremonies.) Adeem says they left the venue and received an emailed apology from the AMA, along with a request asking “what can be done.” “The onus should not be on me to find a solution,” Adeem wrote in their open letter.

Adeem the Artist clarified that they’re not a member of the Americana Music Association and credited the organization with making progress in providing “a stage to marginalized artists” by dismissing the idea of Americana music as a “cis, white male monolith.” But they ripped the AMA for other practices, writing that the association tokenizes artists, underpays independent artists, and fails to be transparent in both its financial operations and its artist booking process.


A rep for the Americana Musician Association did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.

By the end of the four-page letter, Adeem the Artist said they do not “have any interest” in meeting with the Americana Music Association or the artist in question and denied requests for interviews. Instead, they wrote that they hope the members of the Americana scene “demand accountability and a pivot towards actually championing justice and inclusivity while ascending to a more equitable industry model.”