Forget 9 to 5 — supporting the Black Lives Matter movement is a 24/7 gig for Dolly Parton.
In a new interview with Billboard, the 74-year-old country legend opened up to the magazine about respecting the call for racial justice in the fight against police brutality and systemic racism, even if she may not attend in-person protests.
"I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen," said Parton. "And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!"
The artist also explained how she approaches communities expressing that a symbol or phrase is offensive, even if that iconography has been openly used for decades. Back in 2018, she rebranded her Dixie Stampede attraction to Dolly Parton's Stampede after she realized the term "Dixie" was problematic.
“There’s such a thing as innocent ignorance, and so many of us are guilty of that,” Parton told Billboard. “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. Don’t be a dumbass," she continued. "That’s where my heart is. I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose."
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Also in the interview, the "Jolene" singer opened up about her do-no-harm philosophy, stating that she wouldn't want to judge how anyone lives their life.
"First of all, I’m not a judgmental person," she said. "I do believe we all have a right to be exactly who we are, and it is not my place to judge. All these good Christian people that are supposed to be such good Christian people, the last thing we’re supposed to do is to judge one another. God is the judge, not us. I just try to be myself. I try to let everybody else be themselves."
In June — as renewed focus was placed on statues and monuments that stood for controversial historical figures and symbols — fans of Parton called on her home state of Tennessee to replace all Confederate statues with a "monument" of the beloved music icon.
An online petition, which now has over 22,000 signatures as of Friday, calls for the state's officials to remove the "statues memorializing confederate officers" and "honor a true Tennessee hero, Dolly Parton."
"History should not be forgotten, but we need not glamorize those who do not deserve our praise," the petition states. "Aside from her beautiful music, which has touched the hearts and lives of millions of Americans, Dolly Parton's philanthropic heart has unquestionably changed the world for the better. Let's replace the statues of men who sought to tear this country apart with a monument to the woman who has worked her entire life to bring us closer together. "
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
- ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
- National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.
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