Yahoo reports following Lady Antebellum’s name change to Lady A due to “associations that weigh down this word referring to the period of history before the Civil War, which includes slavery,” another famous country trio has apparently shortened its name for similar reasons. From now on, after more than 30 years, the Dixie Chicks will simply be known as the Chicks.
This development follows an op-ed in Variety, titled “After Lady Antebellum, Is It Time for the Dixie Chicks to Rethink Their Name?,” arguing that the word Dixie, a nickname for the Civil War-era South, was problematic. (“Regardless of its origin, for many Black people, it conjures a time and a place of bondage,” explained the piece’s guest columnist, Jeremy Helligar.) The Chicks’ switch precedes the release of the band’s much-anticipated eighth studio album, Gaslighter, and coincides with the release of a politically charged track from that record, “March March.”
Unlike Lady A, who posted a four-page open letter on their Instagram page explaining their reasons for dropping the “Antebellum,” the band formerly known as the Dixie Chicks has been subtler, merely stealthily changing the name on all of its social media handles with no formal announcement. There is nothing subtle about “March March,” however. The song’s video, which features footage of protests for women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and Black Lives Matter, is accompanied by a brief and clear statement on the band’s revamped website: “We want to meet this moment.”
— The Chicks (@thechicks) June 25, 2020
The Chicks’ label did not immediately respond to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment, but Pitchfork reports that their rep shared this statement: “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. Chicks Rock!” This implies that unlike Lady A, who found out that another artist was already going by that name and had to do serious damage control as a result, the former Dixie Chicks went through the proper legal channels to secure their revised name. The original Chicks were a New Zealand sister duo in the 1960s.
The newly christened Chicks have a history of political outspokenness. After a March 2003 London concert in which frontwoman Natalie Maines criticized President George W. Bush on the eve of the American-led invasion of Iraq, declaring, “We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas,” a massive backlash ensued that derailed the band’s career for many years. It in fact created such a culture of fear that many artists felt the need to muzzle themselves. (Taylor Swift, who only recently became politically vocal, addressed this paranoia in her 2020 documentary, Miss Americana.)
However, the (Dixie) Chicks’ 2006 album Taking the Long Way was a bona fide comeback that won the Grammy for Album of the Year. Gaslighter, the Chicks’ first full album since Taking the Long Way and first under the new band name, drops July 17.