Yesterday the world of country music took notice as the Dixie Chicks changed their name to The Chicks as a way of distancing themselves from the confederate era South.
The Chicks did not make any sort of public announcement to make their name change official. In fact, a spokeswoman at the group’s label, Columbia Records told the press that The Chicks had no comment on their name change. Rather, they simply released a new song called ‘March, March’ on Thursday and billed themselves with their new name.
The release of the song was accompanied by a video. Both the song lyrics and the video reference current and past public protests for racial justice, climate change, police brutality, gun violence and LGBTQ rights. It also scrolls the name of dozens of black people that died due to police brutality and hate crimes.
The Chicks are no strangers to taking a political stand. In 2003, shorty before the U.S. invaded Iraq, lead singer Natalie Maines told a London audience that she did not support President Bush’s actions and that she was ashamed to be from the same state as him (that being Texas).
As a result, the band experienced a career upset. Country radio stations refused to play their songs. There were even anti-Dixie chicks demonstrations where former fans burned their CDs. Even three years later, broadcast networks like NBC and the CW refused to run ads for the band’s documentary ‘Shut Up & Sing’.
The Dixie Chicks are not the only band to change their name in the face of social justice. Earlier this month Lady Antebellum changed their name to Lady A. The band did so to eliminate any connotations the name had in linking them to slavery.
Antebellum refers to a pre civil war era in the south when slavery was practiced. Although the band claims they first took the name because it reminded them of the Southern style of music they play and because the home where they did their first photo shoot had an antebellum style of architecture, they did not want anyone linking them to racism. Therefore they chose to shorten their name to Lady A.
In similar news, (former?) Van Halen singer David Lee Roth stated that moving forward he would be known as David L. Roth or simply “El Roth”. He took to social media posting. “David ‘Lee’ Roth changes name! Diamond Dave, following Lady Antebellum’s (now ‘Lady A’) example, will be dropping the ‘Lee’ from now on. He wants us all to call him ‘David L. Roth’ or simply ‘El Roth. Bannana (sic) fana-fo-fana.”
We can only assume he made the move as a reference to any possible linkage to confederate general Robert E. Lee. We have no idea why he included the ‘Banana fana-fo-fana reference or what the meaning of his self-made illustration featuring a giant frog and a tiny human was meant to signify. Many assume it was all meant to be a joke.
There are definitely a lot of changes going on in the music industry in an effort to support a more tolerant world. What do you think of all this?