Dolly Parton is a legend, a genius, and all-around sweet person who has tried to do the right thing and correct mistakes when she learns of them. In a wide-ranging Billboard profile, that flexibility in views extends to her political growth as well:
In 2018 she renamed her Dixie Stampede dinner attraction Dolly Parton’s Stampede as she became more aware of how hurtful the term “Dixie” and its associations with the Confederacy could be — perhaps because of a 2017 Slate article that cast a critical eye on its rosy, family-friendly depictions of the Civil War. (At the time, the Dollywood Company said it was also eyeing an international expansion and noted that “Dixie” wouldn’t translate abroad.) “There’s such a thing as innocent ignorance, and so many of us are guilty of that,” she says now. “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 dumbass. That’s where my heart is. I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose.”
The change came two years before the police killings of unarmed Black Americans like George Floyd sparked a reckoning with systemic racism in the United States — one that led country acts such as the Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum to change their names to similarly avoid glorifying dark chapters of history. Parton hasn’t attended any recent marches, but she is unequivocal in her support of protestors and the Black Lives Matter movement. “I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen,” she says. “And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!”
It’s a really lovely interview with a true American treasure, so check it out!
And if you want to see just how dedicated her superfans are, I recommend the fascinating documentary For the Love of Dolly:
Image: © Retna/Avalon.red