Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012

Dixie Chicks, Entertainment Weekly

When riding out a scandal, most celebrities tend to keep a low profile. Clearly, the Dixie Chicks aren't like most celebrities. In March 2003, during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, the top-selling country-music group unleashed a controversy when lead singer Natalie Maines, standing alongside bandmates Martie Maguire and Emily Robison at a concert in London, said of then President George W. Bush, "Just so you know, we're on the good side with y'all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." The backlash in the U.S. was nearly instantaneous, leading to a widespread country-radio boycott of the Chicks' music, death threats and hate mail. Despite an early, rote apology by Maines, fans and pundits remained incensed by the group's political stance, which in turn inflamed the trio. A mere two months after Maines made her incendiary statement, the group graced the cover of Entertainment Weekly wearing expressions of defiance, and not much else. The nude but strategically covered women had their skin painted with the slurs that had been lobbed their way, including "Dixie Sluts" and "Saddam's Angels." The cover did little to quell the conservative, country-based backlash against the Chicks, but the group's subsequent album, 2006's Taking the Long Way, still sold more than 2 million copies in the U.S. and won five Grammy Awards.