Following a predictable backlash, the music video for country singer Jason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town” was edited to remove the images of a Black Lives Matter protest. The backwater anthem—which was filmed in front of a Tennessee courthouse where a Black teenager was lynched in the 1920s—boasts that criminals who tried their antics in a small town would be confronted by “good ol’ boys” and residents carrying firearms.
In other words, it’s every gun-totin’, Stand-Your-Ground, “What About Chicago” MAGA-hat-wearer’s wet dream set to music.
It also equates police brutality demonstrations with wanton violence and infers that peaceful protestors should be met with retaliation and vigilantism, which, we’ll remind you, has actually happened, multiple times, with deadly results. The video for “Try That in a Small Town” was uploaded on July 14 to YouTube and has since undergone noticeable changes. The new version of it no longer has a news clip from Fox 5 Atlanta showing violent encounters during Black Lives Matter demonstrations in 2020 and ensuing protests in January. At his live shows, Aldean asserts that the song has nothing to do with race before he performs it.
“I feel like everybody’s entitled to their opinion. You can think, you can think something all you want to, it doesn’t mean it’s true, right?,” Aldean said to fans during a Friday show in Cincinnati. Although the singer had insisted that all of the footage featured in the video was real news footage, that statement was quickly debunked after it was revealed he and his team cherry picked stock images and clips that weren’t even filmed in America.
Aldean’s record label, BBR Music Group, attributed the changes to the fact that “the video footage was edited due to third party copyright clearance issues.” It’s a convenient assertion in lieu of the seemingly endless backlash has rightfully endured. Country Music Television pulled the video from their network after three days while celebrities and critics on social media have been vocal for weeks about how obvious it is that the song is an attack against Black people. Aldean also altered the ending to the music video as well.
Previously, there was footage of a rural backdrop and a clip of older white man speaking about small-town beliefs while sitting in a wheelchair. Those have been completely taken out. Ultimately, backtracking and altering the music video for “Try That in a Small Town” is asinine since it doesn’t erase the underlying the message of the song—one that tells “outsiders” they should they deserve heinous and unjustifiable white supremacist violence.