Dolly Parton has caught flak in the past for not having spoken out about political issues of the day. An entire November 2019 episode of the podcast Dolly Parton’s America, called “Dollitics,” focused on her ability to stay neutral because, as she said then, she has fans on all sides of the political spectrum.
“Of course, I have my opinion about everything, but I learned years ago to keep your mouth shut about things. I saw what happened to the Dixie Chicks,” Parton said then, referring to the newly named band the Chicks’ infamous 2003 controversy.
But in a new interview with Billboard, the country legend was adamant about her feelings on protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen,” Parton said. “And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white a**es are the only ones that matter? No!”
The “Jolene” singer also commented on dropping the word “Dixie” from the name of her Medieval Times-like dinner attraction, Dolly Parton’s Stampede, located in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. and Branson, Mo., because of the word’s association with the Confederacy.
She made the change back in 2018, well before music groups like the Chicks and Lady A made similar moves.
“There’s such a thing as innocent ignorance, and so many of us are guilty of that,” Parton said. “When they said ‘Dixie’ was an offensive word, I thought, ‘Well, I don’t want to offend anybody. This is a business. We’ll just call it The Stampede.’ As soon as you realize that [something] is a problem, you should fix it. Don’t be a dumba**. That’s where my heart is. I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose.”
Parton took a similarly progressive stance in May when she was asked at a gala why she’s been hesitant to call herself a feminist over the years, despite having written working women’s anthem “9 to 5.”
“I suppose I am a feminist if I believe that women should be able to do anything they want to,” Parton said. “And when I say a feminist, I just mean I don’t have to, for myself, get out and carry signs… I just really feel I can live my femininity and actually show that you can be a woman and you can still do whatever you want to do.”
As the Grammy Hall of Famer explained to Billboard, she’s continued to keep a non-judgmental stance during an especially politically divisive time.
“First of all, I’m not a judgmental person. I do believe we all have a right to be exactly who we are, and it is not my place to judge,” Parton said. “All these good Christian people that are supposed to be such good Christian people, the last thing we’re supposed to do is to judge one another. God is the judge, not us. I just try to be myself. I try to let everybody else be themselves.”
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