It’s been a busy day in the world of Dolly Parton, starting with the news of a forthcoming Christmas record. Then came the news of the legendary country singer-songwriter’s “Million-Air” status, awarded several times over by BMI to recognize seven of Parton’s songs that have reached over one million broadcast performances. The coveted milestone was reached by mega-hit “I Will Always Love You,” “Nine to Five,” “Jolene,” “Two Doors Down,” “Seeker,” “Yellow Roses,” and “Coat of Many Colors.”
But, by day’s end, it wasn’t the accolades or the excitement of a Holly Dolly Christmas that had fans singing Dolly Parton’s praises, instead it was something she said.
In a Billboard story, Parton, 74, did what Dolly does. She said what she felt, and she didn’t mince her words. On the topic of Black Lives Matter, and protestors, she told Billboard, “I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen. And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!”
And with those five words, “of course Black lives matter” twitter was abuzz. By late afternoon her name was trending on the social platform. Fans of every age, color and creed had read and shared those words.
If you’re a Dolly fan you might be surprised by her words. Not because it’s how she feels, but because the country legend has made it a point to stay away from anything political. But, maybe, this isn’t political at all. Maybe this is about people, and Parton’s always been for the people.
While some are just catching up with name changes, Parton, and her businesses, might have been seen as ahead in that regard. In 2018 her Dixie Stampede dinner attraction was renamed Dolly Parton’s Stampede, after becoming aware that the term “Dixie” could be offensive to some due to its associations with the Confederacy. “There’s such a thing as innocent ignorance, and so many of us are guilty of that,” she told Billboard. “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.”
That’s Dolly Parton for you. An open ally to the LGBTQ+ community, an exceedingly generous philanthropist, who gives locally, in her East Tennessee hometown, and to Vanderbilt’s children’s hospital, and Internationally through her Imagination Library, and, now, a vocal supporter that Black lives matter.