CMT pulls Jason Aldean’s music video after backlash over ‘pro-lynching’ lyrics

CMT pulls Jason Aldean’s music video after backlash over ‘pro-lynching’ lyrics - 69

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Country music star Jason Aldean is facing criticism over his latest single, “Try That in a Small Town,” which some listeners have interpreted as a threat of violence and racism against protesters and outsiders.
The song, which was released in May, features lyrics such as:
“Cuss out a cop, spit in his face Stomp on the flag and light it up Yeah, ya think you’re tough Well, try that in a small town See how far ya make it down the road Around here, we take care of our own You cross that line, it won’t take long For you to find out, I recommend you don’t Try that in a small town.”
The accompanying music video, which was released on July 14, shows Aldean performing in front of a courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, where a Black man named Samuel Smith was lynched by a white mob in 1924. The video also includes footage of various protests and riots across the country, implying a contrast between the urban chaos and the rural order.
Many viewers have accused Aldean of glorifying vigilantism, gun violence and “sundown towns” - communities that enforced racial segregation through intimidation and violence. Some have also pointed out the irony of Aldean singing about guns, given that he was on stage during the 2017 Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 people and injured hundreds more.
One of the critics was Tennessee State Representative Justin Jones, who tweeted: “As Tennessee lawmakers, we have an obligation to condemn Jason Aldean’s heinous song calling for racist violence. What a shameful vision of gun extremism and vigilantism. We will continue to call for common sense gun laws, that protect ALL our children and communities.”
CMT, the country music network that initially aired the video, confirmed that it pulled the clip from the air on Monday, without giving any further comment. Billboard was the first to report the news.
Aldean defended his song on Tuesday, claiming that it was not about race or violence, but about community and neighborliness. He wrote on Twitter: “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. Because they were our neighbors, and that was above any differences.”
He also denied being “pro-lynching” or anti-protest, saying: “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.”
He added: “NO ONE, including me, wants to continue to see senseless headlines or families ripped apart.”
However, his explanation did not appease many of his detractors, who continued to call out his song as insensitive and irresponsible.
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