Trisha Yearwood
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Trisha Yearwood became the first recipient of the June Carter Cash Humanitarian Award at the 2024 CMT Music Awards on Sunday, April 7.

“I have never gotten an award like this. I will say it’s nice to know you’ve won before you got here,” Yearwood, 59, joked during her acceptance speech. “I don’t think anybody who’s ever received a humanitarian award thinks they deserve it. And that is absolutely tracking right now.”

Yearwood continued by giving thanks to the CMT Music Awards for the honor. “June Carter Cash was a force, and she was also married to a force. I know a little bit [about] a life like that,” Yearwood said, referencing her husband, Garth Brooks. “And I know it wasn’t always easy, but she found ways to make sure to keep shining her own light. And she had no bigger fan than her husband, Johnny Cash. I also know a little bit about that.”

Yearwood concluded by saying she hopes everyone can learn from June’s legacy. “This is not one of those, ‘Oh look what I can do. Look what I accomplished.’ I really look at this as a challenge and a calling just to be better.”

2024 CMT Awards Red Carpet

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The new honor is inspired by late country singer June — who died in May 2003 at age 73 — and recognizes an artist who “demonstrates an exceptional dedication to community and their fellow artists, embodying June’s spirit as a fierce advocate and initiator in paying it forward, helping others find their voice and using their platform to inspire and uplift others.”

“Trisha has a unique ability to rally a community, whether that may be families in need with Habitat for Humanity, or uplifting her fellow artists and entertainers trying to carve a path in the industry,” the executive producers of the CMT Music Awards said in a March statement. “She embodies the bold strength of June, who tirelessly devoted herself to service and community, and the namesake for this award. Both multi-hyphenate trailblazers eloquently crafted a script for others to model, letting their hearts and authenticity guide their personal, professional and public lives.”

Trisha Yearwood Wins Inaugural June Carter Cash Humanitarian Award at the 2024 CMT Music Awards

Trisha Yearwood
Chris Saucedo/Getty Images

While Yearwood made a name for herself as a singer, she has also become known for her philanthropy throughout her career. She has worked with Habitat for Humanity for two decades, and she and Brooks, 62 — who have been married since 2005 — were named Habitat Humanitarians in 2016. She also established Dottie’s Yard in 2021 to help animal rescues and has collaborated with a variety of other organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the Humane Society and the Grammy Foundation’s MusiCares.

Within the music industry, Yearwood has become a mentor to fellow female artists. She leads the “Five Decades, One Voice” initiative and has worked with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to preserve the legacy of her predecessors in the genre.

2024 CMT Music Awards Winners

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Yearwood is gearing up to release a new album, which features a collection of songs that she cowrote. After her songwriting talent was criticized in college, Yearwood opted to not pen her own tracks, but she revealed in June 2023 that she was venturing into new territory with encouragement from Brooks.

“Something has happened in the last year, and it’s like, ‘I’m not gonna be afraid to give it a shot,’” she told CMT at the time.

Yearwood acknowledged that the negativity she once received for her songwriting was not necessarily accurate. “I’ve let it be true, but not anymore,” she said. “It’s still hard for me, but I’m doing it. I’m always nervous when I go [to the sessions], but I get a little less nervous every time. It’s just been really good.”

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