The set came after Guyton and Breland wrapped up their collab, “Cross Country.” Guyton then declared excitedly, “The legendary Gladys Knight, ya’ll!” as the soul singer came out on stage clapping before taking the “Black Like Me” singer’s hand to kick off the song about social issues.
As they gave a lively performance of the song, which Gladys Knight and the Pips took to No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1969, the live audience got up on their feet to dance along. Toward the end of the song, Breland came back on stage to help wrap up the set, which earned a standing ovation from those in the audience.
This is the second time in a week that Knight has performed. She took the stage at the Kennedy Center Honors, which aired June 6, to perform in honor of Garth Brooks, taking on his 1992 song “We Shall Be Free.” Brooks was one of the honorees of the evening, alongside Dick Van Dyck, Joan Baez, Debbie Allen and Midori.
Guyton was nominated for two awards this year, breakthrough video for “Black Like Me” and female video of the year for “Heaven Down Here.”
Kane Brown and Kelsea Ballerini co-hosted the awards, which were broadcast live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.