April 24, 2024

Jason Aldean removes Black Lives Matter protest clip from ‘Try That in a Small Town’ music video

Jason Aldean removed a scene from his controversial music video for “Try That In A Small Town,” a clip showing news video of a Black Lives Matter protest projected on a courthouse, after backlash Aldean described as accusing him of being “pro-lynching.”

The song has been criticized for its lyrics and video, which featured the country star singing in front of a Tennessee courthouse where a Black teenager was lynched in 1927. The music video also features a number of protest clips, some from outside of the U.S., that critics have said amplify racial divisions in the country.

On Wednesday, a scene where a Fox 5 clip depicting a Black Lives Matter protest in Atlanta projected onto the courthouse was no longer in the official video. The video is also roughly seven seconds shorter, according to a cached version on Google search and the updated version on YouTube.

A representative for Aldean declined to comment to NBC News on the matter. Fox 5 Atlanta did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News on Wednesday.

Aldean previously defended the song, saying he was wrongly  “accused of releasing a pro-lynching song” and that he was accused of being “not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests.”

“These references are not only meritless, but dangerous,” Aldean said in a tweet last week. “There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it- and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage -and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music- this one goes too far.”

The video was pulled by Country Music Television following the controversy, although the backlash has not stopped the single from reaching No. 2 on the Billboard charts.

Aldean’s claims that there wasn’t a single clip used in his video that was not “real news footage” has also been challenged and debunked online. Destinee Stark, a graphic designer and activist, made a TikTok video showing at least one clip was a commercial stock image of a molotov cocktail produced by a European company.

Multiple clips were also found on stock image websites by NBC News, including one clip from a 2013 protest in Ukraine and another from Canada with no context listed.

YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for information on when the new version of Aldean’s video was uploaded to the platform.

Aldean is not the first artist to upload an altered version of a music video to YouTube. Last year, Taylor Swift uploaded a new version of her hit single “Anti-Hero” after critics accused her of promoting fatphobia when she displayed the word “fat” after stepping on a scale.

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