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25 Jun, 2020 18:19

Dixie Chicks embrace social justice and DROP ‘DIXIE’ from their name

Dixie Chicks embrace social justice and DROP ‘DIXIE’ from their name

Pop-country superstars The Dixie Chicks are the latest entertainers to heed the calls of the social justice movement. Dropping the “Dixie” due to its links with the slave-owning south, the group now simply goes by “The Chicks.”

The Texas trio changed their name on Thursday with little fanfare, placing a short message on their website reading “We want to meet this moment.” Further cementing their progressive position, they released a new song and music video entitled “March March,” which lists the names of dozens of black people killed by police in the US.

The decision didn’t come without warning. After country band Lady Antebellum changed their name to “Lady A” two weeks ago, entertainment industry commenters immediately suggested that the Dixie Chicks do the same. Even the normally conservative-leaning New York Post published an op-ed by Variety writer Jermey Helligar calling the name issue “a discussion we need to have.”

As for what “Dixie” actually means, that much is unclear. Normally used to connote all things southern, Helligar called it “a celebration of a southern tradition that is indivisible from Black slaves.” Others have associated it with Jeremiah Dixon, who helped draw the Mason-Dixon line separating the northern states from the slave-owning southerners. The true meaning though, is lost in the sands of time.

As country acts go, the Dixie Chicks, or The Chicks, are some of the most outspoken progressives in the industry. Denouncing President George Bush’s war in Iraq while their peers were rallying around the flag, the group were all but blacklisted when singer Natalie Maines told a crowd in London in 2003 that “we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.”

The statement cost them fans, but the group’s following album, “Taking the Long Way,” was a smash hit in 2006, winning five Grammys and debuting on top of the Billboard 200. If it achieves nothing else, the name change will at least thrust the Texan trio back into the limelight... just in time for the release of their first album in nearly 15 years, next month’s “Gaslighter.”

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