Country music artist Tanner Adell opens up about her African heritage after donning blonde Bantu knots at the recent 2024 CMT Music Awards Show.

On May 1, the Kentucky native sat down with MTV for an inspiring conversation about her musical journey, which led to her induction into the 2024 class of CMT’s Next Women of Country. She opened up about preparing for the CMT Music Awards Show and delved deeper into why she deemed her golden bantu knots personal and meaningful to showcase at the show.

“The Bantu knots were a personal decision,” Tanner said, referencing the hairstyle that the Bantu people reportedly created. For the music star, the move incited an introduction for people who needed to see and understand the message.

She later affirmed, “The hair said everything I needed to say without saying anything at all.”

During the conversation, Tanner revealed for the first time that her heritage represents 10% of the Bantu and Togo cultures.

Throughout history, Bantu signifies the kinship between numerous African languages. Comprised of several ethnic groups, Togo is a Western African country. The culmination of these identities inspired the “Buckle Bunny” hitmaker to not only rock the Bantu knots but to pay homage to her ancestors’ traditions by hanging a seed in her hair.

“The seed was to represent the seeds that were hidden in braids and hairstyles by my ancestors as they were creating pathways to get to safety so they could start agriculture in those areas and begin their new lives,” the University of Utah alumna explained.

Shortly after the awards extravaganza on April 7, the singer-songwriter posted several photos on Instagram, showing off her blonde bantu knots and her signature haltered crochet dress. The series of photo dumps brought in nearly 700,000 followers behind the scenes of the star-studded country music awards through Tanner’s eyes.

On Instagram, fans stand behind Tanner’s representation of the culture at the CMT Music Awards Show.

“I’m so happy for you @tanneradell, you are ever country black Barbie’s dreams !!! You are so fire. You deserve every success coming your way. So happy for you,” a fan praised Tanner in one of the comments section of her posts.

Another fan said, “I love the Bantu knots at the country event.”

A third fan gushed about Tanner’s influence in country music, saying, “I love seeing you have your hair done in black hairstyles! The Bantu knots are beautiful. I love seeing black women in country music. It’s so empowering, and as someone who was adopted as well– you represent a lot of us. It’s inspiring.”

Tanner is also proud and grateful to have been adopted by her parents, who are purportedly white.

In a 2022 profile with her alma mater, Tanner recalls growing up with her adopted parents between the coasts of Manhattan Beach, California and Star Valley, Wyoming. She met two other adopted children and later an additional two kids that her parents also adopted.

“My family are my best friends. They have always believed in me and always pushed me to pursue my interests,” she penned.


Since the 2023 release of her debut country album, Buckle Bunny, Tanner collaborated with Beyoncé under her belt.

These two revolutionary Black Queens in country music came together after the “Love You A Little Bit” songstress pitched herself as a collaborator and got herself a “Cowboy Carter” feature on “Blackbird,” MadameNoire reported. The rest is history.

What do y’all think about Tanner’s blonde bantu knots?

Watch the full MTV interview below.


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