Jason Aldean is not backing down from his stance on defending “Try That in a Small Town” despite the controversy around his song.
In a new interview with CBS Mornings (watch it below), the country star opened up with Jan Crawford about the backlash the chart-topping song has received.
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When Crawford asked Aldean what his reaction was “when you saw people say that this had racist undertones and, you know, it was like a call to arms,” the singer asked, “How?!”
“You know, it was like a call to arms and small towns,” Crawford added. “It was a threatening kind of video for Black people. I mean, people were putting this on, like, TikTok.”
Aldean replied saying: “But there was, there was people of all colors doing stuff in the video. That’s what I don’t understand. You know, there was white people in there. There was Black people. I mean, this video did not shine light on one specific group and say, ‘That’s the problem.’ So, and anybody that saw that in the video, then you weren’t looking hard enough in the video is all I can tell you.”
The music video showed footage of protests, mainly for the Black Lives Matter movement, as Aldean performed in front of a courthouse where a lynching took place in 1927.
“”Try That in a Small Town” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and Hot Country Songs charts. The track also went Top 10 in Canada and on the UK singles sales tally.
Aldean says he was “excited to cut” the song because he believed it “actually said something for a change” and was not “just another song for radio.” The singer said he knew mentioning guns in the song would get people talking, but he didn’t “expect to get the heat it got. And I think that was because of the video more so than the actual song.”
In regard to filming the video in front of the courthouse where a Black teen was lynched, he said, “For anybody that thinks we picked that building specifically for that reason because there was a lynching there, whatever… .” Aldean maintains that he didn’t know the history of the building and said, “I also don’t go back 100 years and check on the history of a place before we go shoot [a video]. It’s also the place where I go get my car tags every year. It’s my county that I live in.”
Aldean added that he wouldn’t film the video at that location knowing what he knows now but doubled down by saying he wouldn’t check on the history of the building because “if you’re in the South, you can probably go to any small-town courthouse — you can be hard-pressed to find one that hasn’t had had some sort of racial issue over the years at some point. That’s just a fact.”
About the images that flashed throughout the video, Aldean says he was inspired by Billy Joel’s music video for “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”
“The whole idea behind the video was to show the lawlessness and the disrespect for cops and just trashing cities — I’m just not cool with that,” Aldean said.
This would not be the first time Aldean defended his song. During an appearance on Coop’s Rockin’ Country Saturday Night podcast, Aldean continued to justify the lyrics that were deemed problematic.
“If you’ve got common sense, you can look at the video and see I’m not sayin’ anything that’s not true,” he said. “In the video, I’m showin’ you what happened. I didn’t do it, I didn’t create it — it just happened, and I saw it, and I’m not cool with it.”
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