Country music sensation and feminist icon Dolly Parton has once again proved that she’s a queen while admitting she’s still learning.
Earlier this week, the 76-year-old musician made headlines when she spoke out about the Black Lives Matter movement in an interview with Billboard. “I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen,” Parton stated on the recent global uprisings that followed the murders of George Floyd and other Black Americans. “Of course Black lives matter! Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!”
While it appears that Parton has never spoken out directly about Black Lives Matter in the past—which could in part be because many of her supporters come from traditionally conservative demographics—this is not the first time she has grappled with promoting political correctness and respect through her actions and brand.
In 2018, Parton made the decision to rename her Dollywood restaurant “Dixie Stampede” to “Dolly Parton’s Stampede.” Similar to the reason the Dixie Chicks recently rebranded to The Chicks, Parton’s choice to change the name of the attraction came from the fact that the term “Dixie” was used to describe the Southern states during slavery—the confederacy. Parton’s take on why she changed the restaurant's name is an example of how admitting one’s past faults and committing to a continuous state of educating oneself is the way to go. “There’s such a thing as innocent ignorance, and so many of us are guilty of that,” Parton stated. “As soon as you realize that [something] is a problem,” she continued, “you should fix it. Don’t be a dumbass. That’s where my heart is. I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose.”
Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Parton has served as an example of how celebrities can use their platforms to educate others and make a positive impact. In April, Parton donated $1 million to COVID-19 vaccine research and continued to pay her personal band and staff despite the ongoing quarantine. Along with entertaining America’s youth with some brilliant story-time videos, and changing up the lyrics to “Jolene” to better suit hand-washing efforts, Dolly continues to fund charities like The United Way, the Save The Music Foundation, The Imagination Library, and HIV/AIDs foundations and environmental conservation efforts.
Between Dolly Parton's quiet COVID research fund, BLM support, and her sending generations of children books through the USPS, at 74, she continues to be one of the most relevant and ever timely people of every era.August 13, 2020
Really, it's the years of charitable efforts as well as the ongoing commitment to education and kindness and respect towards others for me. We have no other option but to stan.
Dolly Parton is on a list of people who have never let me down. It’s a small list.— Amy Remeikis (@AmyRemeikis) August 14, 2020
MORE FROM BUST
Aliza is a Creative Writing BFA student and former BUST Magazine intern! When she's not writing, reading or scrolling through TikTok for hours on end, you can find her consuming copious amounts of iced coffee or doing something witchy. Follow her on Twitter @alizapelto.