Dixie Chicks change name due to slavery connotations, release protest song

The Dixie Chicks have revealed that they will be changing their name to The Chicks.

The band made their long-awaited return earlier this year with the release of their first music in 14 years, along with the announcement of a new album, Gaslighter.

dixie chicks change name the chicks
Photo: Kevork Djansezian/AP

Only a few months after their triumphant return, the Dixie Chicks have decided to change their name in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The announcement follows a recent op-ed published by journalist Jeremy Helligar in Variety, which called for the band to change their name, citing the slavery roots of Dixie. Helligar argued, “in some ways, [Dixie] represents up-with-whiteness more flagrantly than Bush.” Whilst the history of the name is somewhat uncertain, it is widely thought to have come from the Mason-Dixon line which formed the border between free (Northern) states and slave (Southern) states back in the 18th century.

“Regardless of its origin, for many Black people, [Dixie] conjures a time and a place of bondage,” Helligar argued.

Now the country-pop trio have officially changed their name, altering their website URL and social media pages yesterday, accompanied by the explanation: “We want to meet this moment.” According to Pitchfork, when approached for a statement, the band simply offered their appreciation to a New Zealand band of the same name:

“A sincere and heartfelt thank you goes out to “The Chicks” of NZ for their gracious gesture in allowing us to share their name,” they described. “We are honored to co-exist together in the world with these exceptionally talented sisters. Chicks Rock!”

The move comes in response to the recent resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd. Numerous tv shows and films have been pulled from streaming services for their racist depictions, and country trio Lady Antebellum also recently changed their name to Lady A.

Alongside the name change, The Chicks also released a brand new single, taken from their upcoming album. The protest track, which is titled March March, concludes with a message encouraging viewers to use their vote, accompanied by links to various social justice organisations. Check it out below.

Gaslighter is due out July 17.