Naomi Judd‘s life and legacy will be honored with a memorial, taking place on Sunday, May 15 at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, and airing live, and commercial-free, on CMT. Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration will be hosted by Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts, with performances and special appearances by numerous musical guests.
Among those scheduled to perform in Judd’s honor include Little Big Town, Ashley McBryde, Brandi Carlile, Emmylou Harris & Allison Russell and The Gaithers. Several celebrities will also offer special messages honoring Judd, including Bono, Morgan Freeman, Oprah Winfrey and Salma Hayek. Martina McBride will make a special appearance, and Carly Pearce and Cody Alan will serve as the CMT hosts for the night.
Judd’s daughters, Wynonna and Ashley, will both appear as well, with Judd’s husband of 32 years, Larry Strickland, expected to be in attendance.
“We are sincerely privileged to work alongside Wynonna, Ashley and Larry to present this live celebration of life for their mother and wife Naomi,” CMT producers said in a joint statement of the memorial service. While we all continue to deeply mourn the loss of such a legendary artist, we are honored to commemorate her legacy alongside the country community, her friends, family and legions of fans across the world at the perfect venue: The Mother Church of Country Music. This special will celebrate her timeless voice, unforgettable spirit and the immense impact she left on our genre through the best form of healing we have – music.”
“My mother knew that she was seen and that she was heard in her anguish,” Ashley revealed on Good Morning America. “And that she was walked home. She was walked home. When we’re talking about mental illness, it’s very important to be clear and to make the distinction between our loved one and the disease. It’s very real. It lies. It’s savage. And my mother, our mother, couldn’t hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers. And that is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her, because it built a barrier between the regard in which they held her couldn’t penetrate into her heart, and the lie that the disease told her was so convincing … Her brain hurt. It physically hurt.”
A limited number of tickets are available for Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration, which can be found here. The ceremony will air live at 6:00 PM ET on CMT, with an encore performance at 10:00 PM ET.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, help is available 24/7 from the National Suicide Prevention Line at 800-273-8255.