Posted on July 27, 2023

Black Lives Matter Images Deleted From Jason Aldean’s ‘Small Town’ Video

Samantha Chery et al., Washington Post, July 25, 2023

The music video for Jason Aldean’s massively popular “Try That in a Small Town” was quietly edited to remove images of a Black Lives Matter demonstration after critics accused the song of containing coded threats against Black people.

The video is now six seconds shorter than when it was uploaded to YouTube on July 14, and it no longer contains a news clip from Fox 5 Atlanta depicting violent confrontations during Black Lives Matter demonstrations in 2020 and subsequent protests in January.

Portions of that clip appeared twice in the original music video, at one point projected onto the exterior wall of a Tennessee county courthouse where a Black teen was lynched in the 1920s, which Aldean used as a backdrop as he sang about crimes that would not be tolerated in a small town.

Aldean’s record label, BBR Music Group, said in a statement that “the video footage was edited due to third party copyright clearance issues,” but did not elaborate. {snip}


Originally released to little fanfare in May, the song’s lyrics warn would-be carjackers and other criminals not to “try that in a small town,” full of “good ol’ boys” and armed residents.


Besides the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Atlanta that have been removed, the video is filled with clips depicting crime, violence and riots in cities, most of which remain in the new version.

Country Music Television pulled the video from the air after three days, amid condemnation from NAACP officials, country singer Sheryl Crow and social media critics who contend the lyrics evoke “sundown towns”: all-White communities from the early-20th century that attacked Black people who stayed in town after dark.

Yet it was the best-selling country song to debut on Billboard’s charts in more than a decade, the company reported. In the week after the video’s release, the three-minute tune was played to a radio airplay audience of 7.3 million, sold 228,000 digital copies and amassed 11.6 million streams — a 1,000 percent increase from the week before.


The song’s popularity has grown as conservative politicians, influencers and other country stars defend Aldean. {snip} Former president Donald Trump subsequently endorsed the song.