The artists who used to go by The Dixie Chicks announced a name change yesterday and released a new song. They are now “The Chicks”. The reason being that the word “dixie” is, like “antebellum”, associated with a time in the South when Black people were oppressed. It romanticises an era before abolition, when Black people were enslaved in America. After Lady Antebellum became Lady A a couple of weeks ago, Variety published a piece by Jeremy Helligar that asked whether or not it was time for The Dixie Chicks to do the same. Seems like they were listening.
Unlike Lady A though, who took their new name and ended up helping themselves to a Black woman’s artistic identity, the new Chicks checked with the existing Chicks before making the decision. The Chicks are a band from New Zealand. Suzanne Lynch and Judy Hindman, who are sisters, started their careers in the 60s. They tell the Herald that the Dixie Chicks reached out and asked for permission:
"With everything that's going on in the US at the moment, they wanted to change to The Chicks, and they were nice enough to get in touch," [Lynch] says.
However, despite being contacted from the band's lawyers and having "always" been a fan of The Dixie Chicks, Lynch admits it wasn't an easy decision.
"We considered it for a while to be honest because it was a strange request, but it was agreed to share the name of The Chicks with them."
She was a little taken aback by the request at first but eventually called it "an awesome, wonderful" decision.
Lynch was impressed with the band's lovely message, who thanked the band directly in their statement posted to social media.”
That statement read as follows:
“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 co-exist together in the world with these exceptionally talented sisters.
On their updated The Chicks website, it now reads: WE WANT TO MEET THIS MOMENT.
And they’re doing it through their music. “March March” is an unmistakable call to action. And the song isn’t subtle about which specific issues The Chicks are confronting: gun violence, abortion, climate change, anti-Black and Indigenous racism, and of course it criticises the Trump presidency and questions its legitimacy. The lyrics are accompanied by footage from protests, past and present, acknowledging the work of those on the frontlines, demanding to be seen, demanding justice, and also, at the same time, as you can see, many of the protestors, despite being so oppressed, there are also images of joy, of self-love, of resilience. The exuberance that’s being shown here, from those who have been stepped on and maligned, is a testament to the spirit of the fight. Joy is the ultimate manifestation of hope. Hope for each other and hope for ourselves. “March March” is an invitation to join in what’s right. It is a declaration by The Chicks that they are marching, that they have joined in what’s right. And they’ve shown us, a long, long time ago, that always been willing to stand up and march for what’s right.