The Dixie Chicks change their band name to ‘The Chicks’ & release a new song

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When Lady Antebellum changed their name to Lady A, there was a lot of consternation from the conservative/MAGA Confederacy. The argument was basically “what if ALL bands, restaurants, parks, states, etc change their Confederate-adjacent names, WHAT THEN?” I even remember a lot of people laughingly suggesting that the Dixie Chicks would have to change their names too. Welp. It happened.

The country trio Dixie Chicks have changed the group’s name to The Chicks in an apparent distancing from a name associated with the Confederate-era South.

The switch was not made with any kind of official announcement or explanation but simply with the release of a new song, “March March,” on Thursday. Its lyrics and video reference current and past public protests involving racial justice, police brutality, gun violence, climate change and LGBTQ rights. The video compares current themes to historical fights in the U.S. for women’s right to vote and the struggles for Black and LGBTQ civil rights.

The video also scrolls the names of dozens of Black victims of police brutality and those who died in apparently racially motivated confrontations, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner and Amadou Diallo. The list of names that quickly flash by goes on for more than a full minute.

[From NPR]

Can I be honest? I 100% knew that “Dixie” was a term and idea used by racists and the Confederacy and all of that. But my association with the word was always just “Southern.” Dixie = the South. I thought the Dixie Chicks named themselves that because they were just saying “Southern Chicks.” Again, I knew there were bad connotations, but the women of The Chicks have never hidden their liberal/progressive politics. My point is that I felt like they – or anyone else – could have made the argument that the name was okay, but they’re trying to do the right thing.

Here’s “March March,” the single where they did their name change. Um…this is a really good song? Like, really, really good.

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Photos courtesy of Getty.

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57 Responses to “The Dixie Chicks change their band name to ‘The Chicks’ & release a new song”

  1. Bettyrose says:

    At one point, “dixie chicked” was a verb to indicate being blackballed so when I first heard this I thought maybe they were distancing themselves from that, not that they have anything to be ashamed of, but plenty of musicians have rebranded and started anew. I’m just not crazy about the name “The Chicks.” They should pick another adjective that better suits who they are now: “The Moxie Chicks” (okay maybe not that)

    • FC says:

      For that reason I think the name change was mostly a big eff you to country music. Like, no, we’re not racist and we’re not country. We’re opting out of that sh*t by choice.

      • Adrianna says:

        Changing their name was right for them but I find the term “chicks” derogatory toward women, gives kind of a brainless connotation and even worse now that it’s the entire name. They need at least something to show their strength.

      • Marigold says:

        @Adrianna:

        I agree. It’s a devolution of the “bird” nickname for women. Men who called women birds took to calling young women “chicks.” So it’s not only offensive at its base, but it’s also an infantilization layered on top of a dehumanization.

        I don’t actually take offense to the term because most people use “chick” as slang without any intention of giving offense, and I accept that. BUT…it’s not a good term, and I don’t like it.

  2. Marjorie says:

    The song and its video are profoundly moving.

    Want to know an under-the-radar reason for cancelling the word Dixie? Utah calls its southern area Dixie, and in 2020 actually has a PUBLIC university called Dixie State University. The school was specifically founded by the whitest of white people to honor the old South, and has a looong history of blackface, nooses, and other disgusting traditions. I only found out about it because of a LinkedIn connection.

    Dixie isn’t a comfy term about sweet tea on the veranda, it’s white supremacy.

  3. This song…WOW! Powerful, provocative … gave me the shivers listening to it. Watch till the very end!

    • Tiffany :) says:

      It’s a great song and the video is so powerful. The vast number of names made me weep.

      When they were originally popular, I was in an “ew, country!” music phase. Never listened to them. I was so impressed by their bravery against Bush, and in recent years I have listened to their old music and it is really good. Their harmonies are incredible, lyrics feisty and insightful, and Natalie’s voice is such a unique instrument. I’m so glad they are using their platform for good, and I am glad that their blackballing isn’t the end of their story.

      • Lizzie says:

        I am not a C&W fan yet love The Chicks music. They are incredibly talented and have always created the most beautiful music. I’m glad they are still together.

  4. Becks1 says:

    It’s weird, Dixie for me does not have the same connotations as “Antebellum” which I definitely think is a term that evokes nostalgia for the pre-civil war rich southern lifestyle – plantations and hoop skirts and slavery. But obviously, Dixie is a direct reference of the confederacy and wasn’t it the official anthem of the confederacy? You hear those notes opening notes and think of the confederacy. Or the Dukes of Hazzard, which is just as bad considering their car.

    At any rate – I’m glad they changed their name, it feels like the right decision, I know a lot of people back in their hey day just referred to them as the Chicks anyway, so it doesn’t seem that weird overall.

    Also, considering their politics, and how they were COMPLETELY blackballed from country music, for the most ridiculous reason (people TODAY still hate them for it!) – this doesn’t feel like virtue signaling to me the way Lady A’s change did.

    Finally – that new song and video – AMAZING. Love it.

    • Seraphina says:

      Becks, I agree with your thoughts on what Dixie meant. Not sure I like how they are all now changing their name but I also get it if you want to distance yourself you gotta do what you gotta do.

      • LaraW” says:

        It’s interesting how we have different experiences of the words “antebellum” and “dixie.” For me, I’ve always thought of the word antebellum as a descriptor for a specific range of years in US history for both the north and south; it doesn’t evoke the cultural nostalgia for the plantation days. Antebellum brings to mind the Mexican-American War (where many of military officers of the north and south got their first war experience), the industrialization of the north (cited as one of the major reasons why the south lost the civil war), Bleeding Kansas, John Brown, the Missouri Compromise, etc.

        Dixie, however, goes straight to the heart of southern antebellum nostalgia. The lyrics are literally “I wish I was in the land of cotton, old times there were not forgotten,” and “In Dixie land I’ll take my stand to live and die in Dixie.” I think what makes it even worse is that it was popularized by blackface minstrel shows before the Civil War, which lends a horrifying visual that the slaves/former slaves longed to be in the south, reinforcing the popular white mentality that black people WANTED to be slaves; were in fact happy to live under the benevolence of their plantation owners. So given the song’s history and implications, I think it was very necessary for them to remove it from their name.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Lara, it is interesting because to me antebellum immediately brings to mind plantations, hoop skirts, etc. I don’t think of the north etc at all. Of course those things you mention were “before the war” but its just not what comes to mind for me. I’ve never heard someone use “antebellum” to mean anything besides the Southern plantations etc(think of the opening scenes of GWTW.)

        I understand why they removed Dixie.

    • Also Ali says:

      “Also, considering their politics, and how they were COMPLETELY blackballed from country music, for the most ridiculous reason (people TODAY still hate them for it!) – this doesn’t feel like virtue signaling to me the way Lady A’s change did.

      Finally – that new song and video – AMAZING. Love it.”

      Yes, to all of this!

    • Ivy Rose says:

      Their last song Gaslighter was a banger. A feminist rally cry.

      This one – wow. A heartbreaker. So moving. A call to justice. I love them.

  5. SJR says:

    I like the singer who publicly stated she was ashamed of Bush as POTUS.
    The group was blackballed and their career pretty much stalled for years because of her statement.

    She must be appalled at Trump (as I am) POTUS.
    They turn out good music, and I like the new haircut. Btw, wasn’t she with/divorcing the actor Adrian Pasdar? He was so good looking back in the day. (Just to keep things light)

    • Becks1 says:

      That was Natalie Maines.

      She did divorce him, they had a song out in….March? I think? called Gaslighter (that will be on their new album) that was widely assumed to be about him.

      • Glorificus says:

        But WHAT DID HE DO ON HER BOAT?

        that song raises so many questions I need answered.

  6. Piratewench says:

    “Dixie” has always made me cringe, and it’s the reason I never cared much for these gals. It’s good they changed it but… never should have been the name to begin with.

  7. Case says:

    I never thought about Dixie in that way. I guess I wasn’t educated about the connotations, but good for them for changing it. One of the guys from Kings of Leon and Lily Aldridge have a daughter named Dixie. Whoops.

    That song and video is MAGNIFICENT.

    • lucy2 says:

      Same, I’m a Northeast girl, always just thought it meant Southern, but learning more about it now, I’m glad they dropped it.

      I have always kind of ignored their music because I don’t like country, especially pop country, but I think I may have been wrong and need to listen to more of it.

      That video was incredibly effective. I just looked it up, it was directed by Seanne Farmer, who also did their Gaslighter video.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        ” I’m a Northeast girl, always just thought it meant Southern, but learning more about it now, I’m glad they dropped it.”

        Same.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Canadian here, and I’ve never heard the history of the word Dixie. This site is awesome. I learn something important everyday!

  9. LaraW” says:

    When they started, they were like any other country music group. I think they changed profoundly after the huge backlash against them in country music for speaking out against Bush and the Iraq War.

  10. Kealeen says:

    I feel like the music industry in general owes The Chicks a YUGE apology. For all of Taylor Swift’s recent efforts to be on “the right side of history,” I’m surprised she hasn’t done a collaboration with The Chicks (maybe she reached out, who knows). They were protesting when it wasn’t popular, and paid the price, and then some. They’re so effing talented, and I’m so happy they’re sharing their work with us again. Also, re-visit their “Daddy Lessons” collaboration with Beyoncé on YouTube.

    • Becklu says:

      Taylor did- it’s on her new album and she made a big deal about getting to work with them. It’s a beautiful song-

      • justwastingtime says:

        I love the Chicks, I downloaded the Taylor swift song soon you’ll get better because it was a collaboration. It’s lovely. And wow, I just checked my phone library, the name change was immediate, all the songs are now under the Chicks.

    • SamC says:

      Bucket List item is to see them in concert. Loved them before, love them now.

      • MerlinsMom1018 says:

        @ SamC
        Yes absolutely. See them live. The energy is unreal
        (As an aside, the original blackballing came about because Natalie said they were ashamed that W was from Texas , which started the firestorm. Then Toby Keith weighed in and off it went. (She wasn’t wrong tho))
        Anyway about a year or so after that they came to my hometown of San Antonio and sold the place out within minutes. The night of the show Natalie got up there and said “they told us not to come, we wouldn’t be welcome, no one would show up” and I just remember them crying and saying thank you over and over. Great show.
        Fave song: Cowboy Take Me Away
        and I am a Led Zeppelin addict all the way down the line.

      • Lady D says:

        I saw a documentary on that show where Nat said she had gotten so many death threats before that show. One in particular told her he was going to shoot her to death when she got on stage. She said she was standing on the stage talking before the concert, just waiting for the bullet to hit her. I’ve been a fan of her and her bravery ever since.

    • Case says:

      Taylor did feature them on her latest album, and not only that, but she talked about the culture in country music and how she was taught as a young artist not to speak out because “you don’t want to end up like the Dixie Chicks.” It was really interesting.

  11. Becklu says:

    Being completely honest, I never new there was a negative connotation with Dixie, I thought it was just a way to describe the south. If they felt it was the right thing to do then I’m glad they did it. Don’t love the new name but whatever I love them and their music.

    This song and video is amazing it makes me tear up. The part with all the names just gut wrenching.

  12. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Dixie wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a separation and succession happening along the Mason-Dixon line, but the separation was drawn about a hundred years before the Civil War in order to settle disputes and conflicts. Even so, the line was known as a divider between free and slave states, especially since Pennsylvania abolished slavery around 1780s. Dixie, Antebellum, rebel flags, all these remnants of old South reek of prosperity built on the backs of slaves. Yeah, there were people who disagreed with slavery and spoke against it, but big money was fully behind it, and most notable names of that time defined slavery as their moral imperative. It’s stomach-churning.

    • Mary says:

      That’s what I always thought, that the term “Dixie” derives from “Mason-Dixon line,” and fully understand why they are changing their band’s name!

  13. manda says:

    These women are phenomenal musicians! So happy they are coming back, it was really sad when they were blackballed.

  14. MellyMel says:

    That song and video brought me to tears…wow! I love The Chicks and have since I was a teenager. This is a good move.

  15. Betsy says:

    I kind of wish they had replaced “Dixie” with any other two syllable word. “The Chicks” doesn’t roll off the tongue for me, also I’ve never liked the word chicks used about women. Actually i guess i never liked their name ever – a million ago when i found them, i assumed at first that they were some sort of Southern pride band.

    What a cluttered comment, sorry. Good on them for getting rid of the dixie.

  16. Melissa says:

    The original inspiration for their name came from a song. “I’ll be your Dixie chicken if you’ll be my Tennessee lamb”.

    • Melissa says:

      (other Melissa here) Yes! They took their name from the song Dixie Chicken from the ’70s, “If you’ll be my dixie chicken, I’ll be your Tennessee lamb, and we can walk together down in dixieland,
      down in dixieland.”

      ETA are you me? lol. I saw the Dixie Chicks in 2000 when pregnant with my first, my first giant concert. Much love for them.

  17. CMChat says:

    Great song and message

  18. Badrockandroll says:

    Dixie Chicks started out as a rather kitschy trio (first single = ‘Thank Heavens for Dale Evans’). Then the two sisters replaced the vocalist with Natalie Maines & they really took off. Their first two albums sold gazillions, but they made almost no money because their label, which was making millions off them, had placed them on a developmental contract – the sort of bondage that Leanne Rimes was also under- which they eventually protested and got rewritten. Their concert riders were also revolutionary – they insisted that venues provide more women washrooms than usual, because they knew their fan base was female. And then there was the whole “Shut up and sing” fiasco, where they were blackballed. Along the way they became awfully good musicians and songwriters – love them for their tunes and for their stance.

  19. Dude says:

    Saw them in concert In Tampa with my 10 year old daughter right before the 2016 elections. It was a giant “eff you trump” and it was awesome. So glad I brought my kid. We both loved it. Music was also great

  20. Rachel says:

    Great song. On point!

  21. Miss617 says:

    Hate to sound like a spoiled rich kid here, but there’s really no other option because it’s the truth of how I got into The Chicks:

    My nanny was into country music, and though I’ve recognized as an adult that it’s mostly a trash genre, I’m proud of my childhood taste for recognizing that The Chicks were the real deal. I was too young to understand politics around the time they were blackballed by the industry, so it was a surprise to me when Taking The Long Way won a Grammy because based on the radio I hadn’t even known that they had put out an album.

    Anyway, when Lady Antebellum shortened to “Lady A” and there were calls for The Dixie Chicks to do the same I was like “what? Antebellum specifically refers to the slaveholding South, while Dixie’s just a nickname for the region”. I’m thankful for the Celebitchy commentariat for educating me!

  22. adastraperaspera says:

    Incredibly talented musicians whose careers were shattered because they dared criticize Bush after he sanctioned attacks on a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and spilled out all of our blood and treasure to enrich Cheney’s Haliburton. Meanwhile, we’re still cheerfully handing weapons to the Saudis who DID orchestrate and carry out the attack. Bush also pushed through the Patriot Act, Homeland Security Dept and other right-wing agendas that set the stage for the militarized police forces and ICE ruthless behaviors of today. I’m thrilled to see this new video from The Chicks. It gives me hope.

  23. Claudia says:

    What a great song!!

  24. Valerie says:

    I love them and am on board with the change, but they could’ve given it more thought? lol. Just come up with an entirely new name? Maybe they tried to.

  25. Lvc says:

    I have always believed the only reason the Chicks were even allowed back on the CMA stage was because Beyonce brought them. I think she either said she wouldn’t perform unless they could, or just brought them with her.
    Also, I saw the reunion for my mom’s birthday. The background video that went with Earl included both Trump & Ariel Castro.

  26. Anna says:

    All these white folks, performers and brands suddenly “realizing” and making cosmetic changes–it’s nothing but $$. No one gets to feign innocence about such clear, long-standing symbols of racism and white supremacy. We see you.

  27. ohrhilly says:

    I love them! I am a black woman and always found the word “Dixie” to be cringe due to its history/connotation. I love this new song and video. I’m a fan regardless but appreciate them dumping “Dixie “

  28. Charfromdarock says:

    My god. The list of names scrolling through so many, so fast. So many lives stolen.

  29. Tosca says:

    They are so talented!

  30. anon says:

    I listened to it while I was driving this morning. I dig it. And I LOVE the video.

    Thanks for posting.

    p.s. Welcome back, ladies. :)

  31. Just a thought says:

    I enjoyed their music. I remember when they were ran out of country music. Because they spoke against Bush. That wasn’t right. I am glad they are back making music.

  32. Mrs. Smith says:

    As a Southern gal, the word Dixie was always a little cringe-y. Love that they changed their name (the right way—hello Lady A!). Love the new song/video and I CANNOT WAIT until they go on tour! I have loved the Chicks since their start and encourage all to go to their shows!

  33. Lwt00 says:

    I’ve loved their music for almost 2 decades now. Gaslighter was fantastic but this? Wow. Proud to be a fan.

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