National treasure Dolly Parton has made a rare political statement, coming out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Parton, 74, made the statement to Billboard in an expansive feature published Thursday.
“I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen,” she said of the protests that erupted across the United States in response to the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. “And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!”
The colorful quote comes after the revelation that Parton was ahead of the curve when it comes to country music re-brandings: In 2018, she renamed her Dixie Stampede dinner attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, “Dolly Parton’s Stampede.”
“When they said ‘Dixie’ was an offensive word, I thought, ‘Well, I don’t want to offend anybody. This is a business. We’ll just call it The Stampede,’” Parton said. “As soon as you realize that [something] is a problem, you should fix it.
“Don’t be a dumbass. That’s where my heart is. I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose.”
It’s a break in the resolutely apolitical streak Parton has maintained for most of her career. She notably blanched onstage next to “9 to 5” co-stars Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda when they began bashing President Donald Trump during the 2017 Emmys.
“I’ve got as many Republican friends as I’ve got Democrat friends and I just don’t like voicing my opinion on things,” she explained to the Guardian in 2019 when asked about the moment.
“I respect my audience too much for that, I respect myself too much for that. Of course I have my own opinions, but that don’t mean I got to throw them out there because you’re going to piss off half the people.”
“I’m not a judgmental person,” she told Billboard in the new interview. “I do believe we all have a right to be exactly who we are, and it is not my place to judge.”
“God is the judge, not us. I just try to be myself. I try to let everybody else be themselves.”
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