October 19, 2020

The renegades of the ‘country’ | Babelia


“Of course black lives matter. Do we think only our little white asses do it? Not!”. These statements of Dolly Parton to the magazine Billboard this past summer they woke up a new storm in the bosom of music country. Since we live in an age where words speak louder than actions, a campaign was immediately mounted to boycott Parton. The singer, who during her career has managed to place 25 songs at the top of the American charts and 44 albums in the top 10 and who currently employs more than 4,000 people, became the latest victim of a society, the American, so polarized in recent years, that even a haven of peace and order like music country lives today in a constant state of alert.

Many more came out in defense of Dolly than with the intention of canceling it. Within the genre, reference spaces such as the blog Saving Country Music They warned that it was nothing new for Dolly to make statements of this type, as she has a history of words and actions in defense of the rights of the LGTBI community and racial minorities. Parton has always been ahead of time. Not for nothing has this past week published, A Holly Dolly Christmas, his new Christmas album.

The argument that they maintained from that portal was that the music country he had suffered another attack from the outside. The alternative music site was blamed Consequence of Sound of giving an image of Parton close to Marxism, when she had never gone beyond stating the obvious. Not that he had asked to withdraw the funds from the American police or anything especially radical. In fact, those same supposedly progressive media that now cheered the author of JoleneThey had doubted their liberal pedigree months before when, in another interview, Parton confessed not quite understanding why so many artists declared themselves bisexual or pansexual. “I think they are exaggerating. They just want to be part of that movement and for people to think that they are very free and all that. But, well, I don’t know how they really feel, I just know how I feel. The next day, Parton denied rumors that he was romantically involved with his friend Judy Ogle. “Those things are mentioned by people who are incapable of having a beautiful relationship with a woman. I’m not gay, but I have a lot of gay friends and I accept everyone as they are.

In the 21st century, the country has suffered multiple attempts to open the genre to other music and even to new trends. It has been flirted with pop, even with hip hop and the r’n’b. But everything that artists like modernity have contributed Lil Nas X or Kacey musgraves it has not been accompanied by a speech even remotely as current. The reason that is mentioned more often is that the power in the country it is still in the hands of a conservative elite, always ready to attract attention, if not directly boycott artists who dare to depart from a certain canon.

A superstar like Taylor Swift also started her career on the racing circuit. country, to which he owes part of his brilliant rise in the last decade, for which he did not want to talk about politics until 2018, when he first opposed the Republican Party and Donald Trump, after his criticized silence during the campaign that led him to power . The president responded by saying that he liked Swift’s music “25% less”, while his followers directed harsh attacks on the networks. Two years later, the singer unapologetically embraces the LGTBIQ cause and some of her recent songs, such as BettyThey even raise crypto-lesbian suspicions. In 2003, they were Dixie chicks – renamed, since then, as The Chicks – who had the opportunity to verify the anger with which the powers that be of this world respond to any form of dissent. Their assertion during a London concert that they were ashamed that then-US President George W. Bush had been born like them in Texas led them to be boycotted at all levels of the genre. Almost two decades later it is still almost impossible to listen to his music on the main radio stations of country from USA

Dixie Chicks on the cover of 'Weekly Entertainment' magazine after the controversy sparked by her criticism of President Bush in 2003.
Dixie Chicks on the cover of ‘Weekly Entertainment’ magazine after the controversy sparked by her criticism of President Bush in 2003.

A couple of years ago it was the rising star Brad Paisley who was threatened, ignored and even ridiculed in prime time. A cut of his with rapper LL Cool J titled Accidental racist went viral. In it, the musician advocated a greater openness, more empathy and the need for an urgent change within the country and, already put, of the society. He was branded as having no idea of ​​practically anything. Months later, the most hectic awards gala of the CMA (Country Music Association) took place, after several sexual harassment scandals within the industry and still without having recovered from the shooting that took place in Las Vegas during Route 91 Harvest Music, a country festival, in which a madman climbed onto the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and fired into the crowd, killing 58 people. Keith Urban presented his song on stage Female, written as a celebration of the woman after the arrival of Me Too to Nashville and surrounding areas. This is how NPR (US public radio) described the song: “It aligns itself with the vast majority of the political and social discourse of the country of this decade. The general rule is to speak quietly and diplomatically ”.

The Republican Party has always tried to get hold of the music discourse country. But the way in which gender has always treated the reality of the United States can be understood both from a conservative and a more progressive perspective. All these stories of losers, uprooted, extreme poverty, dysfunctional families and violence are susceptible to being cannibalized from individualism as well as from empathy or even class solidarity. But the truth is that Trump had to turn to stars of the genre to act in his inauguration after it was impossible to put together a presentable poster with artists from practically any other genre. Even that Garth Brooks, one of the musicians country most successful of the last 30 years, he acted in Obama’s inauguration in 2008 was viewed with some suspicion within the country. Today, the artist is criticized by Democrats for having been on the verge of participating in a Trump election announcement and by the right for not having ended up doing so. Some still believe he supports Bernie Sanders because last year he was seen wearing a Barry Sanders jersey, a former player for the NFL’s Detroit Lions.

The current president is not the only one the country It has served him almost as a way of approaching popular culture, if we do not consider barbecues or shooting ranges popular culture, of course. Richard Nixon invited Johnny Cash to perform at the White House in 1970. The president’s advisers let Cash know that he expected him to play Welfare Cadillac, a theme that made fun of aid to the poor. But Cash, who had already performed in the Folsom jail and had made his peace – within his means – with himself, came and played What is truth, which contained these verses: “Those you call savages will soon be the leaders. This old world will awaken in a new day and I solemnly swear it will be their way.” Nixon nearly spits out his breakfast.

For every patriotic plea like the infamous Courtesy of the Red White and Blue by Toby Keith there will always be a Loretta Lynn singing forty to her husband or writing without prejudice about contraceptives. The problem has been and is that Keith has been understood as the voice of a genre and a worldview and Lynn only as the voice of herself.

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