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Queer allies The Dixie Chicks ditch ‘Dixie’ and its slavery-era connotations to become simply The Chicks

Josh Milton June 26, 2020
The Chicks. (Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

The Chicks. (Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

The Dixie Chicks, the platinum-selling country-trio, have changed their name to simply The Chicks to move away from racism.

“Dixie” is a nostalgic nickname for the Confederate-era South and, in a tacit acknowledgment of the damaging, racist baggage of the term in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, the band have dropped it altogether.

It was a stealthy move. The darlings of country radio dropped a new video branded as The Chicks and tinkered their social media profiles.

But when it came to why the name was changed, band-members Natalie Maines, Emily Strayer and Martie Maguire let their music do the talking.

Dixie Chicks change name to The Chicks in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, dropping new song that rallies for change. 

The new track, “March March”, is a four minutes long track that navigates the sidewalks of 2020 America. Kaleidoscopic, the lyric video explored the country’s rich but long-embattled fights for rights, from LGBT+ rights to women’s rights, Black Lives Matter to campaigns against climate catastrophe.

It comes ahead of The Chicks’ upcoming album, Gaslighter.

In a snappy statement on the band’s renamed website, The Chicks said: “We want to meet this moment.”

Founded in 1989 as a bluegrass group, the trio christened themselves after “Dixie Chicken”, a 1973 album by Little Feat.

But the Texas trio, known for being outspoken in the conservative country music scene and for their progressive stance on LGBT+ rights, increasingly weathered criticism for the 31-year-old name.

The word “Dixie” has been widely sprinkled into country ballads, often used to croon over a romanticized image of the South. But the term itself referrs to the Mason-Dixie Line, a demarcation line between four US states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and West Virginia

With many corporations, programmers and musicians facing questions over branding laced with historic racism or a lack of diversity in the top ranks as nationwide protests rumble, the band’s silence was deafening.

While the move to rechristen the band name was swift, The Chicks, who have won 13 Grammy awards, had one rather awkward problem arise – in the form of a 1960s New Zealand pop group also called The Chicks.

However, in a statement obtained by Pitchfork, the band said this name clash was settled in advance of the rebrand.

A sincere and heartfelt thank you goes out to ‘The Chicks’ of NZ for their gracious gesture in allowing us to share their name,” Maines, Strayer and Maguire said in a statement.

“We are honuored to co-exist together in the world with these exceptionally talented sisters. Chicks Rock!”

More: Chicks, Dixie Chicks, Music, Texas, US

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