Taylor Swift Resisted Talking Politics Because of What Happened to the Dixie Chicks
Taylor Swift has become a prominent voice in support of progressive politics over the course of the last year, but it wasn't always so. In a new interview, the superstar admits she resisted speaking out about politics in public for years in part because of the backlash the Dixie Chicks experienced after Natalie Maines spoke out against former President George W. Bush.
The Dixie Chicks were the most successful act in country music before it all came crashing down. On March 10, 2003, during the runup to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Maines told a London concert audience the group were "ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas," sparking off a backlash that forever altered the course of the group's career. Within weeks, they found themselves essentially banned from country radio, while former fans organized rallies to destroy their CDs.
"I come from country music. The number one thing they absolutely drill into you as a country artist, and you can ask any other country artist this, is ‘Don’t be like the Dixie Chicks!’” Swift tells the Guardian. "I watched country music snuff that candle out. The most amazing group we had, just because they talked about politics. And they were getting death threats. They were made such an example that basically every country artist that came after that, every label tells you, ‘Just do not get involved, no matter what.’"
This Old School Taylor Swift Interview Is Our Obsession!
Swift did not speak out on politics in public for years, and although she felt very passionately about the 2016 presidential election, she opted not to publicly endorse Hillary Clinton, in no small part due to a series of public feuds with Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry that had damaged her public image and left her wondering if she might do more harm than good. But she found her voice by the 2018 mid-terms, supporting liberal candidates and opposing several Republican-led anti-LGBTQ ballot measures. She tells the Guardian her days of silence are over.
"I just wanna do everything I can for 2020," Swift states.
Swift collaborated with the Dixie Chicks on a new song titled "Soon You'll Get Better," which appears on her newly released album, Lover.
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