Thursday, July 20, 2023

Jason's Lyrics.


I can take or leave country music. Some of  the music is decent, but I can do without some of it as well. My significant other, on the other hand, loves the stuff. She knows all the artists and lyrics, and we fight on long drives about me having to listen to one country and western station after another. 

I bring this up because of the latest controversy involving a country and western star who thought it was cool to write a song about small town "values" by taking on black folks and our struggle here in these divided states of America.

 I'm cool with artistic freedom, and controversial lyrics,  but I am not cool with hypocrisy. Jason Aldean and his people knew exactly what they were doing when they wrote and produced this song.  I could actually live with the song on its own, but when I saw the video that goes with it, I was like...whoa!  Live and in living color from the site of a horrific lynching back in the day, and the imagery of black folks in the most negative light you can imagine.  

My man is trying his best to bring back Sundown towns. And he is promoting violence and intolerance for good measure.    

Here is a take from Candace McDuffie, writing for  the Root: 

"Jason Aldean has done his best to defend the music video for his latest single, “Try That in a Small Town,” which has been the center of controversy for the last 48 hours. On Monday, the decision was made by Country Music Television (CMT) to pull it from the air.

 Many believe it’s because the conservative singer filmed the video in front of a Tennessee courthouse where a Black man was lynched (CMT hasn’t confirmed if this was the reasoning for its removal). More specifically, the setting was Maury County Courthouse in Columbia where in 1927, a white lynch mob hung a young Black man named Henry Choate from a second-story window.

In the “Try That in a Small Town” video, that same courthouse is draped in an American flag while Aldean sings painfully obtuse lyrics in front of it like:

“Sucker punch somebody on a sidewalk/Carjack an old lady at a red light/ Pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store/Ya think it’s cool, well, act a fool if ya like/Cuss out a cop, spit in his face/Stomp on the flag and light it up/ Yeah, ya think you’re tough.”

Aldean didn’t stop there. The courthouse also has clips projected onto it showing numerous protests, including the 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations. They are in conjunction with stills and footage of the aforementioned liquor store robberies and carjackings. However, there is significantly more footage of the protests throughout the video. 

By lyrically and visually equating meaningful rallies condemning police brutality to violent crime, Aldean is shamelessly touting how much he—and this country, quite frankly—devalues Black life. However, he took to Twitter on Tuesday to insist that this isn’t the case:

“In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests. These references are not only meritless, but dangerous. There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it- and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage -and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music- this one goes too far....Try That In A Small Town’ for me, refers to the feeling of a community that I had growing up, where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief.”'

There may be no lyrical reference to race, but knowing that police brutality disproportionately affects Black and brown people and choosing to disparage those protests in the visuals for “Try That in a Small Town” completely contradicts Aldean’s defense." 

 This is the same guy who was playing on stage when a mad man slaughtered a bunch of people in Las Vegas, Nevada. You would think he would know better. 

But hey, these are the times we are living in . Folks on the right will now make him a hero, and he is going to make a lot of money playing to their inner demons. 

All this and the guy isn't even from a small town. He is from Macon, Georgia, and the last time I checked that ain't no small town. My aforementioned wife, on the other hand, is from a small town. Really small. Like one stoplight small, and the people in that little corner of Louisiana are honest and decent, and there are plenty black folks who live there. But this song by Aldean was not meant for them.  

So let's be honest with ourselves, it's not about the size of the town, but rather like minded people coming together to hate in unison.