Country Music Television (CMT) has entered the cancel culture conversation. Earlier this week, it decided to drop country music star Jason Aldean’s music video for his song “Try That in a Small Town” from its airwaves after some branded the tune a “pro-lynching song” that glorifies racism and gun violence.
On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by Donald Trump, Jr., host of Triggered on Rumble, to discuss the controversy and why the song is actually “100 percent accurate.”
“Try That in a Small Town”
Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town” hit country music airwaves in May seemingly without issue. The song was not written by Aldean but rather is credited to Kurt Allison, Tully Kennedy, Kelley Lovelace, and Neil Thrasher. The lyrics outline behaviors and activities that have dominated the news cycle in more urban areas (think: anti-police sentiment, assault, looting, etc.). The song posits such actions wouldn’t be tolerated in small towns. A sampling:
Sucker punch somebody on a sidewalk
Carjack an old lady at a red light
Pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store
Ya think it’s cool, well, act a fool if ya like
Cuss out a cop, spit in his face
Stomp on the flag and light it up
Yeah, ya think you’re tough
Got a gun that my granddad gave me
They say one day they’re gonna round up
Well, that shit might fly in the city, good luck.
Last Friday, Aldean released the music video for the song. While sharing the video on social media, he said the song represents “that unspoken rule of ‘we all have each other’s backs and we look out for each other’” that exists when you “grow up” in a small town. “It feels like somewhere along the way, that sense of community and respect has gotten lost,” he continued. “Deep down we are all ready to get back to that.” Ultimately, he said he hopes the video “helps y’all know that [you] are not alone in feeling that way.”
The Music Video
In the music video, Aldean’s lyrics are accompanied by actual news footage from the 2020 protests and riots that took over cities around the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death. At other points, Aldean can be seen singing in front of the flag-draped Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, TN. The building was the site of the lynching of Henry Choate, a Black man, in 1927. That led detractors to call “Try That in a Small Town” a “pro-lynching song.”
On Tuesday, Aldean addressed the response to his video with a statement on social media:
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. 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. 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. 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.
As it relates to the courthouse, it has been prominently featured in films like Mario Lopez’s Christmas movie Steppin’ into the Holiday and Hannah Montana: The Movie without fanfare.
The Culture War
Much like Bud Light hung its customer base out to dry with the ill-fated partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney and Disney eroded its trust with parents with ‘woke’ storylines, Trump said CMT seems to be forgetting who watches the network. “It’s shocking that even Country Music Television can seemingly just disavow literally their entire audience to kowtow to Hollywood or perhaps the music companies over there,” he said. “I think it’s what we’re seeing time and time again – just capitulation to the radical left.”
Both Megyn and Trump agreed what makes CMT’s decision to stop playing the video even more head scratching is the veracity of the song’s message. “That song is 100 percent accurate,” Trump noted. “As far as I’m concerned, that’s a great song with wholesome lyrics of a guy that really believes in ‘America first’ and [is] able to condemn the BLM riots and Antifa riots that cost billions in damage, burned down cities, killed people, murdered people. Guess what? That should be accurate across America.”
So far, it seems like Aldean and his fans are having the last laugh. Amid all of the controversy, the song rose to number one on the iTunes charts. Trump hopes the situation sends a message to those who have been afraid of cancel culture. “I hope that’s a call to people to understand, like you don’t have to just give in because they’d like you to,” he concluded. “You don’t have to just roll over and die because they’d like you to.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Trump by tuning in to episode 592 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.