UPDATE (July 25 – 11:25 pm ET) Jason’s controversial music video appears to have been significantly altered, according to a July 25 report by The Washington Post. Per the news outlet, the video is now six seconds longer than it was when originally released on July 14. It’s seemingly missing six seconds worth of footage depicting a violent clash during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, from Fox 5 Atlanta.
ORIGINAL STORY: Jason Aldean, 46, is denying his song, “Try That in a Small Town” and its newly released music video is “pro-lynching,” as many internet users are calling it. The country singer received a lot of backlash about some of the features in the video, which premiered on July 14, and CMT even decided to stop airing it on Monday after having it on rotation just one day before. In a statement released on all his social media pages, Jason said people thinking the song and video is about his distaste for the Black Lives Matter protests are wrong and also called the accusations “dangerous.” (We have decided not to show the music video here).
In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests. These references are not only meritless, but dangerous.…
— Jason Aldean (@Jason_Aldean) July 18, 2023
“In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests. These references are not only meritless, but dangerous,” he wrote in the statement. “There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it- and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage -and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music- this one goes too far.”
“As so many pointed out, I was present at Route 91-where so many lost their lives- and our community recently suffered another heartbreaking tragedy,” he continued. “NO ONE, including me, wants to continue to see senseless headlines or families ripped apart.”
“‘Try That In A Small Town’, for me, refers to the feeling of a community that I had growing up, where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief. Because they were our neighbors, and that was above any differences,” Jason added. “My political views have never been something I’ve hidden from, and I know that a lot of us in this Country don’t agree on how we get back to a sense of normalcy where we go at least a day without a headline that keeps us up at night. But the desire for it to- that’s what this song is about.”
Although Jason, who fell ill due to heat exhaustion during a show on July 15, addressed how the music video included “news footage,” many people criticized how the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, TN, where part of the video was filmed, is the place where 18-year-old African-American Henry Choate was dragged in the streets and lynched in 1927 after being accused of attacking a white girl. The musician hasn’t yet directly addressed why the location, which he and his band sing in front of, was chosen. “Try That in a Small Town” will be part of Jason’s upcoming 11th album, which has yet to have a title of release date.