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“There’s such a thing as innocent ignorance”: Dolly Parton reflects on the importance of equality

ABC/Image Group LA
ABC/Image Group LA

2020 has brought a rejuvenated push for equality, with nationwide protests in response to the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, and a renewed momentum behind the Civil Rights movement.

That social climate has touched the country world, with The Chicks dropping “Dixie” from their name and country trio Lady A leaving “Antebellum” behind.

But as usual, Dolly Parton was a little ahead of the curve.

In 2018, she changed the name of her Dixie Stampede dinner attraction to Dolly Parton’s Stampede after becoming more aware of the painful connotations of the word “Dixie.”

“There’s such a thing as innocent ignorance, and so many of us are guilty of that,” the superstar tells Billboard in a new cover profile for the magazine’s Country Power Players 2020 issue. “As soon as you realize that [something] is a problem, you should fix it. Don’t be a dumba**. That’s where my heart is. I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose.”

And while she hasn’t attended any of the protests or marches this year in person, Dolly says she stands firmly in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen,” she adds. “And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white a**es are the only ones that matter? No!”

During the pandemic and uncertainties that have been the hallmark of 2020, Dolly has prioritized sharing soothing messages with her fans. She released an uplifting new song called “When Life Is Good Again,” and recently announced that she’s about to release a holiday album called A Holly Dolly Christmas.

By Carena Liptak
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