Dixie Chicks drop Dixie from name over slavery links

The US country group’s name change comes in the wake of worldwide protests against racism

The Dixie Chicks have officially changed their name to The Chicks. Photograph:  Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

The Dixie Chicks have officially changed their name to The Chicks. Photograph: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

 

Country music trio Dixie Chicks have changed their name to simply The Chicks, the latest move in US pop culture to drop associations with the nation’s racist past.

“We want to meet this moment,” the Chicks proclaimed on the band’s website. A representative for the band’s label, Columbia Records, confirmed the new name.

The video for their latest song, March March, released on Thursday, appears to feature footage from Black Lives Matter and LGBT protests, images of Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai, and lyrics addressing power, silence and voting.

The word “Dixie” is associated with the US southern states where chattel slavery was legal and which seceded from the union and fought as the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. This month, country band Lady Antebellum changed its name to Lady A, also because of the associations of the Antebellum period with slavery.

The Dixie Chicks – currently Natalie Maines, Emily Strayer and Martie Maguire – formed in Texas in 1989, and became one of the biggest names in country music. The female band was shunned by country radio stations in 2003 after singer Maines said she did not endorse the US invasion of Iraq.

The band responded in 2006 with the Grammy-winning single Not Ready to Make Nice.

An editorial in Variety last week suggested that the band make the change. “The trio took their name from a 1973 Little Feat album, Dixie Chicken, that is free of any overt politicising. Its subtext, however, is a different story,” guest columnist Jeremy Helligar wrote. “Dixie, for the record, is the epitome of White America, a celebration of a Southern tradition that is indivisible from Black slaves and those grand plantations where they were forced to toil for free.”

Musicians, television shows and movies have all been forced to re-examine the messages they are sending out in the wake of a national reckoning over systemic racism in the US triggered by mass protests against police brutality against black people.

The classic Civil War movie Gone with the Wind returned to the HBO streaming platform on Wednesday, accompanied by an introduction acknowledging the brutality of slavery. – Reuters, PA

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