This Dixie Chicks music video is the groups' visual and musical response to getting blacklisted by the Neo-Christian Nationalists infesting country music (and NASCAR, BTW) because Natalie Maines said during a London concert - just days before the start of the invasion and occupation of Iraq - “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”
That concert performance was in London on March 10, 2003, at the Shepherd's Bush Empire theatre, days before the beginning of "Shock & Awe". A united world voice was protesting what appeared to be an inevitable aggressive action by the U.S.A. against Iraq. There was still hope of averting the invasion.
During this concert, the band gave a monologue to introduce their song "Travelin' Soldier", during which Natalie Maines, a Texas native, was quoted by the U.K. newspaper The Guardian
as saying, "Just so you know, ... we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."
Though this is the official circulation of the comment, the full text of the statement Natalie Maines made was as follows:
“Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.” — Natalie Maines
Directly after Natalie's statements on stage, co-band member Emily Robison reportedly remarked that the band supported the American troops 100 percent.
The edited comment about The Wuss -- who served as the mostly ceremonial 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000, before his discredited theft through deceit, aggression and cronyism of the 2000 presidential election -- was reported in The Guardian's
review of the Chicks concert. Shortly thereafter, U.S. media picked up that story and controversy erupted.
Maines' remark sparked intense criticism; many Americans believed that she should not criticize George Bush on foreign shores. Maines insists, however, "I said it there 'cause that's where I was."
The invasion was coming, time was running out.
The comment angered many country music fans and was financially damaging. Following the uproar and the start of a boycott of Dixie Chicks' music, Maines attempted to clarify matters on March 12 by saying, "I feel the President is ignoring the opinions of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world."
The statement failed to quiet her critics, and Maines issued an apology on March 14: "As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful. I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect. We are currently in Europe and witnessing a huge anti-American sentiment as a result of the perceived rush to war. While war may remain a viable option, as a mother, I just want to see every possible alternative exhausted before children and American soldiers' lives are lost. I love my country. I am a proud American."
While some people were disappointed that Maines apologized at all, others dropped their support of Dixie Chicks and their sponsor Lipton
A Colorado country music radio station suspended two of its disc jockeys
on May 6, 2003 for playing music by the Dixie Chicks. On May 22, at the Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards ceremony in Las Vegas, there were boos when the group's nomination for Entertainer of the Year award was announced.
The broadcast's host, Vince Gill, reminded the audience that everyone is entitled to freedom of speech, however The Academy gave the award to Toby Keith, an outspoken critic of the group who had received criticism for displaying a backdrop at his concerts showing a doctored photo of Natalie Maines with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
In one famous anti-Dixie Chicks display, former fans were encouraged to bring their CDs to a demonstration at which they would be crushed by a bulldozer
, evoking comparisons to Nazi book burnings. The degree of hatred directed toward the Chicks - including death threats - provoked concern among the band about their safety and that of their families.
Bruce Springsteen and Madonna even felt compelled to come out in support of the right of the band to express their opinions freely.
Madonna herself was pressured to postpone and then alter the April 1 release of her "American Life" video in which she threw a hand grenade toward a Bush look-alike, after witnessing the backlash against the Chicks.
One significant exception to the criticism of Dixie Chicks from the realm of country music was country music veteran and strident Iraq war opponent Merle Haggard, who in the summer of 2003 released a song critical of U.S. media coverage of the Iraq War. Haggard said the attack on the Chicks was a "witch-hunt and lynching."
On July 25 2003, the Associated Press reported him saying:
“I don't even know the Dixie Chicks, but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion. It was like a verbal witch-hunt and lynching.”
Also in 2003, the American Red Cross refused a $1-million-dollar offer from the Dixie Chicks
saying that to associate itself with the Dixie Chicks for the remainder of the 2003 tour would violate their need to maintain "impartiality and neutrality." The Red Cross did not publicize the refusal; it was revealed by the Chicks themselves in a May 2006 interview on The Howard Stern Show on SIRIUS Satellite Radio. This relationship with the Red Cross proved unfortunate when little more than a year later, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita battered the Gulf states, with the Dixie Chicks' home state of Texas directly in the wake of the disaster.
In September, 2005, Dixie Chicks debuted their song "I Hope" for the telethon "Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast", which featured a star-studded line-up including Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, U2, Sheryl Crow, Patty Griffin, Neil Young, and many other celebrities. The Chicks subsequently made their new single available as a digital download single with proceeds to benefit hurricane relief.
In October 2004, Dixie Chicks joined the "Vote for Change" tour, performing in concerts organized by MoveOn.org in swing states one month before the 2004 Presidential elections, with the Dixie Chicks frequently sharing on-stage artistic collaborations with James Taylor.
On March 16, 2006, Dixie Chicks released the single "Not Ready to Make Nice" in advance of their upcoming album, Taking the Long Way, and their upcoming Accidents & Accusations Tour. Written by all three Chicks alongside Dan Wilson, it directly addressed the political controversy that had surrounded the group for the past three years.
In the May 29 issue of Time
, Maguire said, "I'd rather have a smaller following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith. We don't want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do." Maines also retracted her earlier apology to Bush, stating, "I apologized for disrespecting the office of the President, but I don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever."
An article in the June 2006 issue of The Telegraph quoted Emily Robison on the lack of support from other country music performers: "A lot of artists cashed in on being against what we said or what we stood for because that was promoting their career, which was a horrible thing to do."
Robison continued, "A lot of pandering started going on, and you'd see soldiers and the American flag in every video. It became a sickening display of ultra-patriotism."
The group's Accidents & Accusations Tour began in July 2006. Ticket sales were strong in Canada and in some Northeastern markets, but notably weak in other areas. A number of shows were cancelled or relocated to smaller venues due to poor sales, and in Houston, Texas, tickets never even went on sale when local radio stations refused to accept advertising for the event. In August, a re-routed tour schedule was announced with a greater emphasis on Canadian dates, where Taking the Long Way
had gone five-times-platinum. The tour's shows themselves generally refrained from any explicit verbal political comments, letting the music, especially the central performance of "Not Ready to Make Nice", speak for itself. At a November 5, 2006 concert in Calgary, Alberta the Chicks received a thunderous ovation when the song was over, and the band held up a handwritten sign from a fan that read "Nobody likes a nasty Bush."
MSN broadcast an entire live concert, called "Scene of the Crime", of Dixie Chicks' return to Shepherds Bush, London, the site of "The Incident". Toward the end of the concert, Natalie said from the stage, "And all week, the only thing people keep asking is, 'What are you gonna say? Do you know what you're gonna say?' As usual I didn't plan anything, but I thought I'd say something brand new and just say, 'Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas,'" which was met with thunderous applause and cheers.
An ad for Shut Up and Sing, a documentary about the furor over Maines's comment, was turned down by NBC on October 27, 2006, citing a policy barring ads dealing with "public controversy". Ads for the documentary were rebuffed by the smaller CW network as well. However, local affiliate stations of all five major broadcasters, including NBC and CW, ran promotional spots for the film in New York and Los Angeles, the two cities where it opened that day.
"It's a sad commentary about the level of fear in our society that a movie about a group of courageous entertainers who were blacklisted for exercising their right of free speech is now itself being blacklisted by corporate America,"
the film's distributor Harvey Weinstein said in a statement. Shut Up and Sing's
title was taken from "Not Ready To Make Nice", which in turn took the phrase from a threatening letter received by the band.
Dixie Chicks Awards
American Music Awards
2003: Favorite Country Band, Duo or Group
2003: Favorite Country Album - Home
2001: Favorite Country Band, Duo or Group
Billboard Music Awards
2002: Country Duo/Group of the Year
Country Music Association Awards
2002: Vocal Group of the Year
2000: Album of the Year - Fly
2000: Entertainer of the Year
2000: Vocal Group of the Year
2000: Music Video of the Year - "Goodbye Earl"
1999: Single of the Year - "Wide Open Spaces"
1999: Vocal Group of the Year
1999: Music Video of the Year - "Wide Open Spaces"
1998: Horizon Award
1998: Vocal Group of the Year
2007: Album of the Year - Taking the Long Way
2007: Song of the Year - "Not Ready to Make Nice"
2007: Record of the Year - "Not Ready to Make Nice"
2007: Best Country Album - Taking the Long Way
2007: Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal - "Not Ready to Make Nice"
2005: Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal - "Top Of The World"
2003: Best Country Album - Home
2003: Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal - "Long Time Gone"
2003: Best Country Instrumental Performance - "Lil' Jack Slade"
2000: Best Country Album - Fly
2000: Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal - "Ready to Run"
1999: Best Country Album - Wide Open Spaces
1999: Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal - "There's Your Trouble"
2007: International Album of the Year - Taking the Long Way
MTV's Rock the Vote
2004: Patrick Lippert Award for "protecting freedom of speech".
People's Choice Awards
2002: Favorite Musical Group or Band
2006: ACLU Bill of Rights Award
2002 CMT Johnny Cash Visionary Award
2000 Flameworthy Award
Dixie Chicks Tours
2000 Fly Tour
2003 Top of the World Tour
2006 Accidents & Accusations Tour
As an opening act
1998 Clay Walker
1999 George Strait Country Music Festival
1999 Tim McGraw
2006 The Eagles (Twickenham - 17 June 2006)
2007 The Eagles (Grand Opening of The Nokia Theatre L.A.Live)
Dixie Chicks Do Benefits
2001 America: A Tribute to Heroes
2003 Honor the Earth
2003 Recording Artists' Coalition
2004 Vote for Change
2005 Shelter From the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast
1999 Lilith Fair
ripped from Wikipedia's Dixie Chicks and edited