While it may appear as if The Chicks—formerly The Dixie Chicks—hopped on the bandwagon of sudden atonement that we’ve witnessed from all corners of the entertainment industry lately, it turns out that the trio has been wanting to change their name and shirk the Dixie moniker for a while. In a profile by New York Times’ Amanda Hess, Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire, and Emily Strayer talked about the origins of the old name as well as their evolving feeling towards it.
Strayer and Maguire landed on the Dixie Chick name in 1989 as a silly nod to the Little Feat song “Dixie Chicken.” “We were literally teenagers when we picked that stupid name,” Maguire told the NYT. Furthermore, Maines wasn’t even present when the band and its name were initially formed. Hess notes that by 2003, their attitudes towards the name changed when they were met with opposition from Dixie supporters. “We wanted to change it years and years and years ago,” Maines said. “I just wanted to separate myself from people that wave that Dixie flag.” As if to seal their stance, Strayer mentioned that she “[didn’t] want to have anything to do with that” after spotting an Instagram post of a Confederate Flag with the caption “The Dixie Swastika” underneath. The old name is also connected to a country music industry that disposed of them over 17 years ago when they spoke out against then-sitting president George W. Bush. So yeah, they might have been a little eager to shed one of the last remaining vestiges of a rather painful time in their career.
The group ultimately refrained from changing the name in order to prevent brand confusion, but as they gear up for the release of their forthcoming album Gaslighter, now seems like the perfect time to star fresh. There’s also the totally appealing notion of not further engaging with a name that is forever linked to this country’s racist history. Fellow country crooners Lady A (not to be confused with the jazz singer who performed under that name for decades) recently changed their name from Lady Antebellum for similar reasons, hoping to further distance themselves from a culture of systemic racism after millions protested the murder of George Floyd. Gaslighter, The Chick’s first album in 14 years, drops on July 17.
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