A country music legend waded into the Black Live Matter discussion and it looks like she handled the issue well. There won’t be any angry mob coming for her on social media, demanding a boycott to cancel her. Why? Because everyone loves Dolly Parton.
The question of supporting Black Lives Matter is a hot button issue because what started out as a response to police officer-involved deaths – the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 – has morphed into a Marxist political movement. The supporters of today’s Black Lives Matter movement don’t just want law enforcement reforms, they demand a fundamental shift in American government. The co-founders of Black Lives Matter, for example, are self-avowed Marxists.
Can we support the equality of Black lives and not support the Black Lives Matter movement? Yes, a lot of people think that way. Americans believe in the equality of men (and women) yet when it all goes political instead of remaining an issue of basic humanity, the issue is conflated. I think Dolly Parton managed to walk a fine line and avoid the political discussion that other celebrities and public figures are eager to go on the record about. One of the reasons Dolly Parton has remained a country music favorite for so many years is because she doesn’t weigh in on politics. She is, above all else, not just a talented performer but a savvy businesswoman. So, when she was asked about supporting Black Lives Matter, she delivered a well-reasoned, sincere response.
She is a little ahead of the curve, as it turns out because when everything associated with the Confederacy became controversial, especially names, she made some changes. In 2018, for example, she removed the word “Dixie” from the name of a dinner attraction at Dollywood. The original name, the Dixie Stampede dinner, was renamed Dolly Parton’s Stampede. She looked at it as a smart business move besides avoiding hurtful language. “Don’t be a dumbass.”
Flexibility benefits Parton in other ways. In 2018 she renamed her Dixie Stampede dinner attraction Dolly Parton’s Stampede as she became more aware of how hurtful the term “Dixie” and its associations with the Confederacy could be — perhaps because of a 2017 Slate article that cast a critical eye on its rosy, family-friendly depictions of the Civil War. (At the time, the Dollywood Company said it was also eyeing an international expansion and noted that “Dixie” wouldn’t translate abroad.) “There’s such a thing as innocent ignorance, and so many of us are guilty of that,” she says now. “When they said ‘Dixie’ was an offensive word, I thought, ‘Well, I don’t want to offend anybody. This is a business. We’ll just call it The Stampede.’ As soon as you realize that [something] is a problem, you should fix it. Don’t be a dumbass. That’s where my heart is. I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose.”
Why turn off customers? She’s not stupid, she is trying to appeal to everyone. This is what I have never understood about entertainers and public figures who depend on the support of the public – paying customers – yet feel compelled to lecture about their own political views. It’s no secret that the entertainment business is liberal. It’s not smart to turn off potential customers. Most businesses, especially major corporations, contribute to both political parties for this very reason.
The change came two years before the police killings of unarmed Black Americans like George Floyd sparked a reckoning with systemic racism in the United States — one that led country acts such as the Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum to change their names to similarly avoid glorifying dark chapters of history. Parton hasn’t attended any recent marches, but she is unequivocal in her support of protestors and the Black Lives Matter movement. “I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen,” she says. “And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!”
The fact that Dolly Parton has avoided politics throughout her career made her declaration of support for Black lives fodder for headlines. You notice she carefully specified that it was people, not a political movement, that she supports. Frankly, that is where I think the majority of Americans come down on the issue. We don’t think “our little white asses are the only ones who matter”. Parton doesn’t launch into defunding the police or destroying capitalism or endorsing candidates. The interviewer made her response into supporting protesters and the BLM movement, which is what the media does, right? She didn’t say she supports protests and the riots or anything like that.
The Black Lives Matter movement has morphed into an often violent, destructive political movement. It is no longer about George Floyd’s death, or Michael Brown’s for that matter. People who wish to promote a Marxist agenda saw a vacuum in leadership and infiltrated the protests and marches. Then next thing we knew, rallies featured speeches from speakers blasting Capitalism and of course Republicans and Trump. Dolly exemplifies the American Dream. She rose from poverty to become an entrepreneur as well as an entertainer. There is no room for Marxism in that dream.
I love this woman so much!! https://t.co/gLXCR57he6
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) August 14, 2020
— Trisha Yearwood (@trishayearwood) August 14, 2020
Everyone loves Dolly.