With no press release or official announcement, country music stars Dixie Chicks stealthily became The Chicks this morning. The band suddenly changed all of its social media handles and its website, the latter of which now leads to an all-black landing page with the band’s new video for the song March March embedded above a stark quote reading, “If your voice held no power, they wouldn’t try to silence you.”
The band’s move follows another high-profile country music reckoning; earlier in June, Lady Antebellum changed its name to Lady A in order to remove the connotations of slavery. While The Chicks did not release a statement on the decision to drop the “Dixie” from their name, the band did post a single statement on its new website, signed by all three members, saying, “We want to meet this moment.”
The move by Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer comes less than 10 days after Variety published a call for the band to follow the steps taken by Lady A.
“‘Dixie,’ for the record, is the epitome of white America, a celebration of a Southern tradition that is indivisible from Black slaves and those grand plantations where they were forced to toil for free,” wrote Jeremy Helliger in the June 17 article in Variety.
Earlier today, a representative for the band told Pitchfork that it had reached an agreement with a New Zealand group also called The Chicks. Lady A, meanwhile, is embroiled in a dispute with a Seattle-based Black blues singer who has used that as her stage name for decades, The Seattle Times reported.
“A sincere and heartfelt thank you goes out to The Chicks of NZ for their gracious gesture in allowing us to share their name. We are honored to coexist together in the world with these exceptionally talented sisters,” the band told Pitchfork.
It’s not the first time the group formerly known as Dixie Chicks has made a political statement. During a 2003 performance in London, Maines told the crowd that she was “ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas” in a reference to George W. Bush and his conservative policies. The band was immediately boycotted by some country music fans and radio stations.
Adweek contacted public relations agency Rogers & Cohen PMK for comment on its client The Chicks and will update this breaking story with a response.