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Jason Aldean video edits don’t change message, Indy NAACP leader says

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A local NAACP leader on Wednesday said changes to Jason Aldean’s controversial new music video don’t change the song’s core message.

The music video for Aldean’s new single, “Try That In A Small Town,” has drawn controversy for featuring images of riots and protests and for being filmed at a Tennessee courthouse where a Black man was lynched in 1927.

A new version of the video, shortened by 6 seconds, removes a pair of scenes taken from a newscast that show protests.

Jason Hammer, the host of “The Hammer and Nigel Show” on WIBC, 91.3-FM, said the edits are most likely due to copyright issues with the footage. He said neither Aldean nor those in his camp have apologized or attempted to walk back the video or the song.

TyJuan Garrett, vice president of the Indianapolis NAACP, said the edits don’t change the video’s overall message. He said Aldean’s lyrics, especially when combined with the video’s imagery, recall the nation’s history of sundown towns, where outsiders, particularly Black people, were run out of town.

“There’s a phrase where he says, ‘It’s full of good old boys raised up right,’” he said. “You’re saying if there’s a civil disobedience, it’s OK to operate outside the lines of the law, and that’s a dangerous path that you can go down.”

Garrett said Aldean would have been better off using more positive imagery associated with small towns, such as displays of good sportsmanship on athletic fields. He said Aldean is entitled to his opinion but should remember words matter both in how they’re chosen and how they’re used.

Hammer says he disagrees with the view the song recalls the history of sundown towns. He says Aldean’s song is the latest in a long line of protest songs, all of which were provocative in their day.

“I’m old enough to remember when NWA had special thoughts against the police. Ice-T and his band, Body Count, having a Cop Killer album,” he said. “So maybe we all need to pump the brakes just a little bit here because no matter what genre of music you listen to, at some point, there’s been a protest song.”

Aldean’s record label did not respond to News 8’s request for comment for this story.