Country music star Jason Aldean stands firmly behind his contentious song "Try That in a Small Town," a track criticized for allegedly promoting racism and advocating gun violence. The backlash reached fever pitch recently, causing Aldean, aged 46, to reflect on what he described as his "long-ass week" during a Friday concert at Ohio's Riverbend Music Center, where he also took a stand against "cancel culture." Aldean initiated a discourse on his personal beliefs, stating that everyone has the right to their opinion but cautioned that assumptions do not equate to truth.
"What I am is a proud American," Aldean proclaimed, expressing a deep-seated love for his country and family and vowing to protect them at all costs.
Aldean Confronts Cancel Culture
When Aldean critiqued "cancel culture," defining it as a mechanism used by individuals to "cancel" or destroy the lives of those with whom they disagree, the crowd erupted in chants of "U.S.A." This was Aldean's first public appearance since the debut of his controversial music video, featuring protest imagery paired with provocative lyrics like, 'Got a gun that my granddad gave me / They say one day they're gonna round up / Well, that s--- might fly in the city, good luck." The music video was subsequently removed from CMT.
Earlier in the week, the "Dirt Road Anthem" artist had rebuked allegations labeling his song and video as "meritless" and "dangerous" via a Twitter post. He expressed his disappointment over comparisons suggesting that he wasn't too pleased with nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, explaining that the song released in May does not contain racially charged lyrics.
Aldean went on to state, "'Try That In A Small Town,' for me, signifies the community spirit that permeated my childhood, where differences in background or belief didn't matter, we cared for our neighbors." He also stressed that his political views have never been concealed and acknowledged the diverse opinions across the nation regarding the route to normalcy.
Despite his defense, Aldean continues to face public disapproval, with prominent figures like Sheryl Crow and The View's cast expressing their disdain. Hosts Joy Behar described the song as "deplorable" and "annoying," while Sunny Hostin highlighted its allegedly racist undertones.
Hostin, a child of an interracial couple who fled South Carolina due to KKK harassment, accused Aldean of not only understanding the imagery he was using but also embracing it. The song's ascension to the No. 1 spot on U.S. iTunes amid the controversy, she argued, points to an unresolved racial issue in the U.S., one many refuse to acknowledge.