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The Advocates 2024: Ally and activist Willie Nelson

The Advocates 2024: Ally and activist Willie Nelson

<p>The Advocates 2024: Ally and activist Willie Nelson</p>
C Flanigan/FilmMagic

The country legend has always stood up for what he believes in, and his recent queer-themed cowboy duet with Orville Peck proves it.

At 91 and still going strong, Willie Nelson is one the most prolific, progressive, and beloved American country artists of all time. With over 150 albums under his belt to date, Nelson has also won 12 Grammys (out of 57 nominations) over the years, a Grammy Legend Award in 1990, and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. In addition to his amazing musical career, Nelson has also been an activist and advocate for many progressive causes long before it was in vogue — including supporting Farm Aid, the legalization of marijuana, and marriage equality.

Orville Peck and Wille Nelson in the music video for 'Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other'courtesy YouTube/Orville Peck

In a 2013 interview with Texas Monthly, Nelson made his feelings clear on same-sex marriage: “It’s about human rights. As humanity, we’ve come through so many problems from the beginning to here…. This is just another situation, another problem. We’ll work it out and move on.”

Most recently to show his continued support of the community in the face of current anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, Nelson collaborated with queer country star Orville Peck, who praised the legendary songwriter for his allyship. The two covered the very gay country classic, “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other,” originally by Ned Sublette, which Nelson previously covered in 2006. “Willie kept talking about how the subject matter in this song was more important than ever,” Peck told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “He wanted it to have a new life with the two of us.”


The Advocates is an annual feature celebrating 10 artists, activists, advocates, and others who strive to make the world a better place for all. Click hereto read about our other honorable Advocates, including cover star Cyndi Lauper!

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