A prominent gun-control activist is taking credit for canceling country music star Jason Aldean’s controversial new song, which he claims is ‘racist and violent.’
Mums Demand Action founder Shannon Watts drew attention to the lyrics of Aldean’s new song ‘Try That In A Small Town’ over the weekend when she wrote that the lyrics were about ‘how she and her friends would shoot ’em if you tried to take their guns.’
Watts noted that Aldean ‘was onstage during the 2017 mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert that left 60 dead and more than 400 injured.’
Watts’ claim comes a day after CMT pulled the song from the airwaves. After country music television slammed the song and music video, Watts tweeted: ‘Proud to have a hand in getting CMT to reject this racist and violent song.’
While CMT pulled the music video, ABC aired a pre-recorded performance of the song during ‘CMA Fest’ on Wednesday – sparking criticism online.
Mums Demand Action founder Shannon Watts drew attention to the lyrics of Aldean’s new song ‘Try That In A Small Town’ over the weekend when she wrote that the lyrics were about ‘how she and her friends would shoot if you tried to take their guns’.
Watts also took aim at Aldean’s scheduled participation in a star-studded August benefit for Nashville’s Covenant School, where a mass shooting occurred earlier this year.
The @Opry is hosting Jason Aldean at a fundraiser for Covenant School in Nashville. One would think there are more country music artists they could invite instead?’ Watts wrote.
Aldean, 46, released the gun-toting, anti-Uk video on Friday, condemning violent and destructive opponents for the hatred that won’t fly in the South.
Both the lyrics and the video, which interlaced clips of BLM protesters upholding traditional values and vandalizing cities with the line ‘take care of ourselves’, sparked outrage online.
Aldean addressed his detractors in an Instagram story on Tuesday in which he denied any anti-black or pro-lynching sentiments and noted that people only discovered it two months after its release.
“In the last 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and compared it to the (direct quote) nationwide BLM protests that I was not too pleased with,” she wrote. ‘These references are not only meritless, but dangerous.’
‘The song doesn’t have a lyric that mentions or refers to race – and there isn’t a video clip that isn’t real news footage – and while I can try and respect others’ interpretations of their own. Songs with music – it goes a long way,’ he added.
Since dropping last Friday, the music video has garnered over 3.6 million views on YouTube.
On Wednesday night, reactions began pouring in online about Aldean’s CMA Fest performance on ABC, which was originally taped June 10 at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium in honor of the Country Music Association’s 50th anniversary.
The CMA Fest broadcast featured other performances by artists including Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Eric Church and Luke Combs.
One Twitter user wrote on Wednesday night, ‘Really CMA Fest lets the disgusting @Jason_Aldean still perform.’
‘#CMAFEST is being shut down because Jason Aldeans song ‘In a Small Town’ shouldn’t be played anywhere. You should be ashamed of yourselves @abc,’ wrote another.
A third called Aldean ‘an insult to country music’.
‘Jason Aldean and this awful song makes me want to change the channel,’ wrote another.
Aldean on Day 3 of CMA Fest June 10, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee – On Wednesday night, reactions started pouring in online about Aldean’s CMA Fest performance.
Despite all the haters, though, Alden’s supporters also voiced their thoughts Wednesday night.
‘@Jason_Aldean stand your ground!!’ One wrote.
‘Tell the truth! This is the United States. It is your right. Awake will always find fault. I’ll buy your song!’ wrote another.
‘They can’t cancel @Jason_Aldean !!!!!!! @CountryMusic Way to shut them down!!!!!’ A third wrote.
In an attempt to explain the song to critics, Aldean stated that he did not believe the song’s message was inherently political.
‘Try that in a small town’, for me, represents the sense of community I grew up in, where we cared for our neighbors regardless of differences in background or beliefs. Because they were our neighbors and that was beyond any difference,’ Aldean said.
He added that ‘nobody, including me, wants to see senseless headlines or families torn apart,’ noting that he was at the Route 91 Las Vegas Harvest Festival, where 61 people were killed in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
‘My political views have not been something I have not hidden and I know that many of us in this country disagree about how we return to a sense of normalcy where we go at least one day without a headline. Keeps us up at night. But the longing for it—that’s what this song is about,’ he concluded.
Earlier this week, a spokesperson for CMT confirmed to Billboard that the video had been pulled from the airwaves. Aldean did not address the network’s decision.
Aldean opens the song: ‘Shove a cop, spit in his face. Stop on the flag and light it. Yes, do you think you are tough? Try a small town.’
In the music video, Aldean sings in front of large white properties and an American flag interspersed with clips of BLM protests.
Country music star used footage of Black Lives Matter riots for divisive lyrics
The music video was met with backlash among some who felt the lyrics were intended to offend dog whistles, while others saw it as a commentary on America’s sharp divide.
‘Punch someone on the sidewalk, carjack an old lady at a red light,’ he sings. ‘Pull a gun on a liquor store owner – you think it’s cool, well, act stupid.
‘See how far you can go off the road. Around here, we take care of ourselves. You cross that line, it won’t take you long to find it – I advise you not to try it in a small town.’
One line caused particular offense among some gun-hating listeners, where Aldean sang: ‘Got a gun that my grandpa gave me, they say one day they’re gonna round up… Well, that *** can fly town, good luck. .’
Although some see any reference to guns as ‘crossing the line’, Aldean’s lyrics are also seen as sensitive due to his connection to the deadly Las Vegas mass shooting.
The 46-year-old closes the song with a tribute to Southern values, noting that small towns are full of ‘good ol’ boys, raised right.’
‘If you’re looking for a fight, try a small town.’
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