It’s no secret that country music and its fan base can skew a little bit (or sometimes a lot) conservative. That doesn’t mean that the industry is obligated to stay stuck in the past, as Dolly Parton, among others, has clearly demonstrated. Still, every step forward is a step some fans will see as an assault, and banning of racist imagery is no exception.
The Country Music Association’s CMA Fest, which starts in Nashville next Thursday and runs through Sunday, joins other events and organizations, including NASCAR, in banning the Confederate flag. According to USA Today, a spokesperson explained that this is more about refining language than changing policies, as they’ve “always had policies in place that protect the safety of our fans and ban discrimination.”
The CMA has a long list of prohibited items for the event, most of which looks just like the banned items list at many events and venues — large bags, drugs, firearms, laser pointers, outside food and alcohol, and so on, with a typical catch-all of “Other items deemed disruptive or dangerous at the discretion of Event Management. or offensive at the discretion of CMA and the venue.”
They also prohibit all flags, but the updated language also prohibits “Confederate flag imagery of any kind.”
Judging by Twitter responses, there’s a faction of fans who are not happy about this at all.
CMA stated they want to "ban discrimination" yet the CMA itself is banning all imagery of the Confederate Flag. If that's not discrimination then nothing is. What a bunch of hypocrites. Only haters and those who like to discriminate would attend this event. #FreeSpeech #Freedom
— Jim Barrett (@barrettcomputer) June 3, 2022
This true? You hate your fans, your supporters? You spit on faces of the country music fans and join the ranks of communists who March through American cities setting them on fire? The confederate flag is not a hate symbol https://t.co/YFtdpG1sn0
— An Appeal to Heaven (@hopeofliberty22) June 3, 2022
Some don’t mind a symbol associated with supporting racial inequality, if symbols supporting equality are banned too:
You said you’re banning the confederate flag because it’s offensive. Will you be banning other offensive symbols, like BLM? I would certainly hope so.
— Fairbanks (@Fairban55337332) June 2, 2022
Speaking of Black lives, though, this isn’t the first time the CMA has been too liberal for some fans. They set a few off back in December by tweeting about the Black Opry.
What would happen if we had a white Opryland? Js
— Judi Rhodes (@rhodesjudi25) December 28, 2021
why is there a black oprey? What's wrong with just the Oprey? Are we now a segregated country? After 100 years of trying to de segregate? I don't understand.
— Grumpyolman (@st_czaja) December 17, 2021
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com