Calls for a boycott of CMT over its decision not to air a video of Jason Aldean’s hit song, “Try That in a Small Town,” are gaining steam.
The song itself has drawn crticism for its lyrics, but popular music is frequently under fire for subject matter that pushes boundaries.
Free speech is generally expected to be understood as an artist’s right.
CMT has dropped the video. Radio stations are still playing the hit song.
CMT is owned jointly by Corus Entertainment and Paramount Global’s (PARA) – Get Free Report Paramount Networks Americas. Paramount’s stock is unchanged the past month, closing July 21 at $15.52 per share. On June 22 it was valued at $15.55.
Advocates of the CMT boycott say they are outraged by the channel’s decision. Passions are focused on the song’s themes, rarely addressing one key focus of the video.
The video depicts the band playing in front of the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee.
This is the often overlooked point in the discussion: That specific rural building is the site of the 1927 lynching of a black teenager named Henry Choate.
The video overlays scenes of Aldean’s band playing with footage of urban violence.
CMT has not commented on the reason it is no longer playing the video.
The Lyrics and the Video
“Try That in a Small Town” has lyrics that suggest crime and violence taking place in urban areas would meet a stronger level of resistance in rural ones.
Sucker punch somebody on a sidewalk
Carjack an old lady at a red light
Pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store
Ya think it’s cool, well, act a fool if ya like
Well, try that in a small town
See how far ya make it down the road
Around here, we take care of our own
You cross that line, it won’t take long
For you to find out, I recommend you don’t
Try that in a small town
Here is the video, with the courthouse in question serving as the spectacle for the band’s backdrop.
Aldean Does Not Address the Video Shoot Location
In a lengthy tweet on July 18, Aldean defended the song and video, without mentioning the site of the band’s appearance in the video.
In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests. These references are not only meritless, but dangerous. There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it- and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage -and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music- this one goes too far.
As so many pointed out, I was present at Route 91-where so many lost their lives- and our community recently suffered another heartbreaking tragedy. NO ONE, including me, wants to continue to see senseless headlines or families ripped apart.
Try That In A Small Town, for me, refers to the feeling of a community that I had growing up, where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief. Because they were our neighbors, and that was above any differences. My political views have never been something I’ve hidden from, and I know that a lot of us in this Country don’t agree on how we get back to a sense of normalcy where we go at least a day without a headline that keeps us up at night. But the desire for it to- that’s what this song is about.
The production company for the video, Tacklebox, said the site is a popular location and that other artists have used it, according to Taste of Country.
“Any alternative narrative suggesting the music video’s location decision is false,” the company stated, according to Taste of Country. Tacklebox also said Aldean “did not pick the location.”
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