I HAVE never bought music by either Lady Antebellum or The Dixie Chicks. Which is a shame, because it means I cannot withdraw patronage of these all-white American country-rock acts because both have, pathetically, just ditched the parts of their long-established band names which supposedly evoke slavery.
Dropping ‘Dixie’ because ‘we want to meet this moment’, the all-female trio will henceforth be known as The Chicks. From which one concludes that in 2020 a slang term usually regarded a sexist slight carries less offence than the bygone nickname of the American South.
Similarly, as a term of historical reference, ‘Antebellum’ has also become verboten. Hereafter, the mixed-sex threesome will be known as Lady A – a moniker which, amusingly, was already being used by a black blues singer and led to a fresh accusation of white privilege.
To justify the change of name, the group issued a rambling apologia which, if you have the stomach for pusillanimity, is worth reading in all its grovelling glory.
To give a flavour: ‘We’ve watched and listened . . . blind spots we didn’t even know existed have been revealed . . . deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued. Causing pain was never our hearts’ intention . . . we have been awakened but this is just one step . . . we will continue to educate ourselves, have hard conversations and search the parts of our hearts that need pruning – to grow into better humans, better neighbours.’
This ‘heart-pruning’ appeal reads like a plea for mercy at a show trial. Which is what it is, except that the three-piece formerly known as Lady Antebellum pre-emptively volunteered a full confession and apology, presumably hoping they can delay being dragged into the dock by Black Lives Matter and banished for re-education.
The same ploy has also been adopted by two white American actresses, Kristen Bell and Jenny Slate (no, me neither). Both have just relinquished their TV roles of, respectively, Molly in Central Park and Missy in Big Mouth, so that these mixed-race characters can instead be played by actresses of colour. (Are you available, Meghan?) If you are puzzled how and why Bell and Slate were ever cast in the parts, it is because Molly and Missy are . . . animations.
Yes, voicing a cartoon character which does not share your complexion is now as heinous as doing blackface. According to Kristen Bell, she is guilty of an ‘act of complicity [which] shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege’.
Jenny Slate says she originally accepted the part of Missy due to being a match for the character’s white Jewish mother. But Slate now recants for having given voice to mixed-race Missy: ‘I was engaging in act of censure of black people. Ending my portrayal of Missy is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions.’
Alas, these two overwrought actresses have set an example that other voice artists are now expected to follow. After two decades vocalising the character Cleveland Brown in Family Guy, Mike Henry evidently felt under pressure to surrender the role.
Henry’s matter-of-fact statement did at least avoid the agonised argot of actresses Bell and Slate. To repeat: their extensive and excruciating mea culpas are for having voiced cartoon characters. Tempting though it is to poke fun at the preposterous Kristen Bell and Jenny Slate, and to ridicule the abject members of Lady Antebellum, their self-abasing psychobabble only encourages the Marxist mob, for which no self-sacrifice will ever be sufficient.
These lily-livered capitulations simply embolden the race-hustlers of the Left, on both sides of the Atlantic, to seek further scalps.