CMT pulled the music video from Jason Aldean’s song “Try That in a Small Town” because of accusations that the song was racist and “pro-lynching.” The singer is now defending himself against all the accusations leveled against him.
“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,” the country singer said on social media.
“These references are not only meritless, but dangerous,” he further added.
The music video had been running for three days before CMT pulled it off the airwaves, according to reports. While they did decide not to air it any longer, they have declined to comment on their motivation to do so.
The music video in question showed Aldean performing the controversial song in front of Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, with an American flag draped on the entrance.After the video was released last week, keen observers pointed out that the location held historical significance as it was the same where in the 1920s, an 18-year-old African-American man named Henry Choate was lynched.
Visual footage is shown of protesters burning the American flags while going head-to-head with police officers though it is unclear where the footage is exactly from.
“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,” Aldean says in the song’s lyrics.
“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,” the lyrics say.
Variety said the song was “the most contemptible country song of the decade,” while people on social media outrightly called the artist “a racist who writes barely concealed lynching songs” and a “violent bigot.”
The song was written by written by Kelley Lovelace, Kurt Allison, Neil Thrasher and Tully Kennedy. And even though the location of the music video holds historical significance when it comes to lynching of African Americans in the United States, the singer vehemently denies that he intended to “point to” race.
“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 said.
The singer said that his song “Try That in a Small Town” merely refers to the “feeling of a community” that he felt growing up. “We took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief,” he said.
“My political views have never been something I’ve hidden from, and I know that a lot of us in this country don’t agree on how we get back to a sense of normalcy where we go at least a day without a headline that keeps us up at night,” Aldean clarified.
“But the desire for it to — that’s what this song is about,” he added.
This is not the first time the singer has come under fire. In 2021, the singer was dropped by his publicity firm after his wife Brittany Aldean made transphobic comments. The controversy came after Brittany posted an Instagram video where she thanked her parents for “not changing [her] gender” during her “tomboy phase” as a child.
“Lmao!! I’m glad they didn’t too, cause you and I wouldn’t have worked out,” Jason commented on his wife’s video.
Later he defended his wife after she came under fire for her remarks saying parents who allow their children to transition as “one of the worst evils.”
All of this criticissm comes during Jason Aldean’s Highway Desperado tour, which started on July 14. On his second day of the tour, the singer was hospitalized due to heatstroke and rescheduled his performance.
The concert venue sent out a statement which read, “Yesterday’s Jason Aldean show will be rescheduled for a future date. We appreciate your patience as we work on rescheduling a new date, as well as the outpouring of well wishes for Jason.”