What happened to the Dixie Chicks? One day everyone was jamming out to "Goodbye Earl" and the next, the band had seemingly disappeared into thin air — but why? Two words: cancel culture. And it all started with a comment the Dixie Chicks made about Bush Jr.'s decision to go to war with Iraq.
The Bush administration's decision to enter into the Iraq war has been well-documented, and proven, to be one of the most obvious money grabs of the industrial military complex in recent history. There was no yellow cake uranium. Corporations that profited off of military expansion and spending made money hand over first and politicians all made a fat chunk of change off of it. This is proven.
The Iraq war is right up there with Vietnam when it comes to a blatant disregard for human life and worldwide relations so a select group of people could turn a profit. Many people called it out, and it didn't help that President George W. Bush was such a polarizing figure with an extremely low approval rating. Everyone and their mother was protesting the war... but there were also others who, due to the bipartisan nature of American politics, staunchly supported it, well... just because.
The war between "conservative" and "liberal" viewpoints is one that has almost always been at the forefront of media coverage. Some stations are for Democrats while others are there to serve the viewpoints of Republicans, giving people an echo chamber of consistent confirmation bias. Bush's tenure in the White House was no exception to that rule. Which is why many country music fans were aghast when the Dixie Chicks called out Bush Jr. for his decision to go to war with Iraq.
What happened to the Dixie Chicks? They were "canceled" before canceling was cool.
The band, who hails from Dallas, Tex., said during a live concert in London that they were "...ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." Some believe that "performers" should keep their political opinions to themselves because they're not politicians, but I'd argue all art is political, especially music. "Born in the USA" is a vehement protest against the Vietnam war. French Montana's "No Stylist" is a scathing criticism of people who don't dress themselves; both are hot takes.
Folks caused such an uproar over the Dixie Chicks remarks (the same folks who undoubtedly would've been praising them had they offered up their support of the president) that they blacklisted the critically and commercially successful group to the point where country music radio stations had refused to play them and even encouraged listeners to trash the band's CDs. One of the biggest acts in America was blacklisted from sharing their music with the audiences who once embraced them the most.
It was a ban that lasted for well over a decade... until Sept. 4, 2019, when KWJJ, a country music station in Portland, Ore. played Taylor Swift's "Soon You'll Get Better," a track that features the Dixie Chicks. Mike Chase, one of the hosts of the station, talked about the feedback they received after initially playing the song and posting a link to it on their Facebook page. Divisive would be a good way to describe the response, even after all these years.
“It’s a song about her own mother struggling with cancer. We played the song and also posted it on our Facebook page. One woman [commented that] her grandmother had died 10 minutes prior to us playing it. And right after that, some guy goes, ‘I guess it would be better if Taylor wasn’t ramming her politics down my throat.’ We thought, ‘wow: what a study in extremes,;" Chase said in an interview with Rolling Stone.
While the Dixie Chicks took a severe hit following their decision to take a strong political stance, they've had somewhat of a resurgence in recent years. In 2016, they had a sold-out 53-city tour, and they announced their first new album in some 13 years, 2019's "Taking the Long Way." It summarily won a Grammy for album of the year. Not too bad.
So if you're wondering what happened to The Dixie Chicks, cancel culture is the answer. But if you possess true love for what you're doing and persist in the face of knee-jerk, emotional reactions from fans, then it doesn't really matter if a machine won't acknowledge your existence. Because love, honesty, and fighting for what you believe in will always prevail.
And being embraced for their great music is the real victory for the band, not the Grammy, because lord knows they often don't get it right. I mean, remember when Jethro Tull beat Metallica out for best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal recording? Yes, a band with a flute was deemed "heavier" and "harder" than '90s friggin Metallica. Beats me.