The Dixie Chicks are touring the U.S. for the first time in a decade, and they will be jamming out in Tampa at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds August 19.
Just like *NSYNC, The Backstreet Boys, Blink 182 and The Spice Girls, the Dixie Chicks were a music group in the late ‘90s/early ‘00s that added a fun, youthful voice to their respective genres, but the Chicks did something that no other group at the time did and that very few musical acts are able to do: They appealed to everyone: men and women, young and old. They reached out to fans of country, rock, pop and everything in-between, and yes, they appealed to the LGBT crowd.
The Dixie Chicks – Natalie Maines and sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire – are the top selling all-female band in recording history, selling more than 30 million albums worldwide and winning 13 Grammy Awards.
The Chicks were on top of the world, until March 10, 2003, when, at a concert in London, Maines criticized then-President George W. Bush on invading Iraq.
“We’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas,” she said from the stage.
The reaction to Maines’ comments were fast, harsh and in nearly all cases, defied reason. The Chicks were banished from the country music industry, radio stations held events so disgruntled fans could have their Dixie Chicks albums destroyed and people even sent death threats to the band.
The fallout in the wake of Maines’ comment was filmed and released as a documentary called Shut Up and Sing in 2006. The same year, the Dixie Chicks released their last group album, Taking the Long Way, going double platinum and winning five Grammy Awards including the big three: Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Recording of the Year. Then the Chicks stopped chirping.
Now here we are, 10 years later, and Maines, Robison and Maguire are back together and touring the U.S. again with their DCX MMXVI Tour. To celebrate the Chicks and their rise back to the top of the world, here are 10 times the Dixie Chicks stood with the LGBT community.
1 The Dixie Chicks are extremely liberal. Speaking to USA Today, Maines said, “I’m pro-gay marriage. Pro-gay everything. I’m pro-choice. I’m liberal on every social aspect, probably. More liberal than people would even believe.”
2 They played Madison Square Garden in NYC the day after the Pulse shooting, ending the concert with Ben Harper’s “Better Way” with a rainbow heart in the background and a rainbow flag on the stage. “We cannot let the hatred and the anger win out,” Maines told the audience. “We can’t leave you guys not ready to make nice.”
3 Maguire and Robison, both mothers, formed a side band Court Yard Hounds in 2010. Their debut album featured the track “Ain’t No Son,” a song about a young man coming out to his judgmental father. Robison said in an interview discussing the song, “The idea, how can you have kids and love them so much and one day decide not to – it just boggled my mind.”
4 They fan-girl out over Cher. When Maguire was turning 40, she went to Vegas to see Cher in concert. “I’ve got a few connections, so I was able to go back and meet her,” she told GregInHollywood.com. “ Meeting her face to face was such a thrill. That was life-changing for me. I felt like I had a whole new outlook after that.”
5 Maines has a girl crush on Rachel Maddow. Speaking with LGBT entertainment writer (and occasional Watermark contributor) Chris Azzopardi, Maines mentioned her love for Maddow after Azzopardi asked her if she felt her new, short haircut gave her more lesbian cred. “She’s hot! And she’s smart and beautiful … and I like her hair,” Maines said.
6 Gay rights are Chicks rights and Chicks rights are gay rights. Maines said after the controversy the connection between the band and their gay fans was strengthened. “We both know how it feels to be hated just for who we are – not for doing anything, bothering anyone, murdering anyone or being arrested. Just for being us. Apparently, that’s not good in some people’s eyes,” she said to Azzopardi.
7 The Dixie Chicks have been under the attack from Rev. Jerry Falwell for “pushing lesbianism.” The 1990s summer music festival Lilith Fair was an all-female concert tour that had the Chicks playing on the same stage as music legends like Melissa Etheridge, Queen Latifah, the Indigo Girls and more. Falwell’s National Liberty Journal came out against Lilith Fair calling it a concert to promote “paganism” and “lesbianism,” saying, “Many young people no doubt attend the Lilith Fair concerts not knowing the demonic legend of the mystical woman whose name the series manifests.” Falwell has also referred to the Dixie Chicks as “French hens.”
8 In 2005, the Dixie Chicks supported same-sex marriage by joining Dolly Parton, Christina Aguilera, Yoko Ono and 28 other recording artists on the compilation album Love Rocks. The Chicks contributed the song, “I Believe in Love.”
9 The Dixie Chicks are not fans of the current Republican platform or their new leader. During their current tour, while they play their hit “Goodbye Earl,” a song about a woman and her bestie killing off her abusive husband, they run a photo of a defaced Trump all dressed up to look like Satan.
10 The Dixie Chicks are huge supporters of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Foundation, an organization working to end homelessness among LGBTQ youth. Maines has also performed at Lauper’s Home for the Holidays benefit concert for the organization.