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The Dixie Chicks Are Dropping the ‘Dixie’, Will Now Go by ‘The Chicks’

The Chicks join Lady A in rethinking the meaning behind their band name.

Country music trio the Dixie Chicks are changing their name to simply The Chicks. The band announced their new name via their latest music video “March March,” which features footage of the George Floyd protests, as well as other current and historical protests for climate change, gun reform, gay rights, and more. All of their social media handles have since been changed to reflect the new name.

The band stated simply, “We want to meet this moment.” The band also acknowledged New Zealand group The Chicks, adding “A sincere and heartfelt thank you goes out to ‘The Chicks’ of NZ for their gracious gesture in allowing us to share their name. We are honored to co-exist together in the world with these exceptionally talented sisters. Chicks Rock!”

The band was originally a reference to “Dixie Chicken,” a 1973 album by the country group Little Feat.

Natalie Maines, Emily Strayer, and Martie Maguire have long been a lone liberal voice in the world of country music, dating back to 2003 when they criticized then-President George W. Bush over invading Iraq during a concert. The band was boycotted, their music was blacklisted from country stations, and the Chicks received death threats as a result.

The name change is yet another outcome of the sweeping Black Lives Matter movement that has spread worldwide after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police. His death and the ongoing rampant police brutality has kick-started an international reckoning on racial justice. In only a month, it’s become a long-overdue cultural sea change that has extended from politics to corporate mascots to sports to popular culture to Confederate monuments.

Fellow country band Lady Antebellum had previously announced that they were changing their name to Lady A. Jeremy Helligar wrote a guest column in Variety titled “After Lady Antebellum, Is It Time for the Dixie Chicks to Rethink Their Name?” In it, he discusses the history of the word “dixie” and its connections to the confederacy.

“‘Dixie,’ for the record, is the epitome of white America, a celebration of a Southern tradition that is indivisible from Black slaves and those grand plantations where they were forced to toil for free. The origin of the word, though, is unclear. One theory links it to Jeremiah Dixon, who along with Charles Mason, drew the Mason-Dixon line as the border between four states that later became the unofficial separation between free states and slaves states. Other less likely theories trace it back to a slave owner from Manhattan as well as “dix,” a word written on Louisiana’s 10-dollar bills pre-Civil War that’s French for ‘ten.’ Regardless of its origin, for many Black people, it conjures a time and a place of bondage.”

Many took to Twitter to celebrate The Chicks’ new name:

(via Pitchfork, image: The Chicks)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.