Country Music Television (CMT) has decided to stop airing Jason Aldean’s controversial video “Try That In a Small Town” which has sparked political discourse due to perceived glorification of gun violence and endorsement of traditionally racist ideas.
The controversy: Critics argue that the lyrics of Aldean’s song and its video glorify gun violence and hold racially divisive undertones.
* The song contains implied threats to outsiders—presumably from cities—and references to gun rights.
* The video features scenes evoking racial injustice protests, and is partially set against the backdrop of the Maury County Courthouse—the site of a notorious 1927 lynching.
The artist’s stance: Aldean responded to criticism stating that there were no racial references in the song, and it was meant to convey the sense of community he experienced growing up in a small town.
* TackleBox, the production company behind the video, also defended the video’s location as being a popular filming spot, denying any “alternative narrative” about why it was chosen.
* Aldean has received five Grammy Award nominations over his two-decade career, which is steeped in portrayals of rural, blue-collar life. The artist, however, has been vocal about his right-leaning political views.
The reactions: The song has drawn criticism and defense from various groups, leading to its characterization as a political litmus test.
* Gun control advocates, including Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, have criticized Aldean’s song for encouraging a dangerous vigilante mentality.
* However, conservative commentators and GOP primary contenders have defended the artist, seeing him as promoting under-appreciated conservative values.
* Despite the backlash, the song ranked No. 1 on iTunes in the U.S. as of midday Thursday, and holds the No. 2 spot on YouTube’s trending music videos.
Song’s content: The song, released in promotion of his 11th upcoming album, asserts an “unspoken rule” for those raised in small towns; backing each other and looking out for each other.
* Aldean, who did not write the song, stated the song represents a sense of community where neighbors look out for each other, regardless of differences in background or belief.
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