Dolly Parton Shares Why She Dropped the ‘Dixie’ From Her Stampede: ‘I Would Never Dream of Hurting Anybody’
Two years after she changed the name of her Dixie Stampede attraction at Dollywood, Dolly Parton is opening up about the reasons behind the change, confessing "innocent ignorance" to the negative association the word "Dixie" carried for some fans.
Parton and World Choice Investments, LLC revealed that the dinner show attraction was changing its name to Dolly Parton's Stampede in January of 2018, saying they "recognize that attitudes change and feel that by streamlining the names of our shows, it will remove any confusion or concerns about our shows and will help our efforts to expand into new cities."
In a new interview with Billboard, the 74-year-old country superstar and businesswoman admits she simply hadn't looked at the situation from the perspective of someone who might be offended with it prior to that decision.
"There’s such a thing as innocent ignorance, and so many of us are guilty of that," she observes. "When they said 'Dixie' was an offensive word, I thought, 'Well, I don’t want to offend anybody. This is a business. We’ll just call it the Stampede.'"
"As soon as you realize that [something] is a problem, you should fix it," Parton adds. "Don’t be a dumbass. That’s where my heart is. I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose."
Parton was ahead of the curve of some artists who have begun to make changes more recently in response to the deaths of George Floyd and other unarmed Black men and women in police custody all over the U.S., and the resulting protests that have swept the country. Lady Antebellum dropped "Antebellum" from their name in June and changed their name to Lady A, a move that backfired when a Black blues singer who had performed under the name Lady A for two decades objected very vocally in public. The ownership of that trademark is now tied up in a court proceeding.
The Dixie Chicks also dropped "Dixie" from their name in June, becoming simply the Chicks ahead of the release of their long-awaited new album, Gaslighter.
Parton has almost never advocated for political positions in public, but she tells Billboard that she supports the current Black Lives Matter protests, even if she has not attended any rallies.
"I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen," she says. "And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!"
See Dolly Parton's Life and Career in Pictures