Why Did Dixie Chicks Change Their Band Name? Explained

The Dixie Chicks were one of the most popular girl country bands in the country a couple of decades ago and have been releasing new music in recent years, but did you know they changed their name? Are you looking for answers as to why did Dixie Chicks change their band name? We’re going to explain the reason for this change and much more below!

Who Is In The Dixie Chicks?

1998 – The Dixie Chicks at the Country For Kids concert in Stafford, Virginia. Image source: Jim Williams, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Dixie Chicks consist of sisters Emily Strayer and Martie Maguire, as well as Natalie Maines. Laura Lynch was the bass player when the group originally formed, but she isn’t a part of the group anymore, making The Dixie Chicks a trio. 

What Did The Dixie Chicks Change Their Band Name To?

The Chicks - Not Ready To Make Nice (Official Video)

The Dixie Chicks decided to change their name to simply The Chicks, which dropped the word “Dixie” from the band name that they’ve had since their formation in 1989. 

When Did The Dixie Chicks Change Their Name?

It was during the summer of 2020, around June, that the trio decided it would be the right time to change their name to The Chicks. 

Why Did The Dixie Chicks Change Their Band Name?

May 31, 2020 – George Floyd Memorial in South Minneapolis. Image source: Chad Davis, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

During the summer of 2020, riots were going on all over the country after the murder of George Floyd. This brought up a lot of race discussions in the country, which is what really led The Dixie Chicks to believe then was the right time to drop “Dixie” from their band name. They had realized the connotations of “Dixie” and how having this word in their band name could give people the wrong idea about who they are and their thoughts on race. 

About a month before The Dixie Chicks changed their name, another country band took note of the change in the country and dropped Antebellum from their group name Lady Antebellum. If you were unaware, the word “antebellum” had been a term before the American Civil War to describe the southern states where the slaves were.

June 6, 2008 – Lady Antebellum in performance. Image source: abmaac / Bonnie, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

They changed their name to just Lady A and said that they were embarrassed to have the name given its association with slavery, which they didn’t think about when forming their band. This could have resulted in The Dixie Chicks being more open to changing their name since it didn’t seem to affect Lady A at all.

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What Was The Inspiration Behind “Dixie” In Their Name?

When The Dixie Chicks formed in 1989, they decided to name their band after a Little Feat song called Dixie Chicken. They never had the intention of putting this word into their band name as if they were okay with the Confederacy or slavery. 

What Does “Dixie” Mean In Race Terms?

1910 – Illustration of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon surveying the Mason–Dixon line, circa 1763–1768. Image source: English: Illustrator unknown; published by Ginn and Company., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Dixie comes from Jeremiah Dixon who is the guy the Mason-Dixon line is named after, which happened around 1760. When it comes to racial connotations of the word “Dixie,” this word is used to describe the Southern states in America, those states that are south of the Mason-Dixon line. The states in the South were part of the Confederacy, which voted to uphold slavery. Even further, the states and people that were part of the Confederacy used the song Dixie as their anthem. 

Did The Chicks Already Exist?

Dixie Chicks call New Zealand when they decide to drop ‘Dixie’ from their name

When The Dixie Chicks decided that it was time to change their name so they weren’t associated with slavery in 2020, they did not realize at the time that there was already a band with the name The Chicks. The band was from New Zealand, and after being contacted by The Chicks after realizing this error, the New Zealand duo said it was okay. 

Did The Dixie Chicks Release a Statement When They Changed Their Name?

At first, there was no formal release of a statement when the girls decided to change their name to just The Chicks, except for a quote that talked about how no one would try to silence your voice if you didn’t have power. However, later on, a statement would be released that not only mentioned how they wanted to meet that particular moment in time but also a thank you to the New Zealand duo for allowing them to share the name The Chicks. 

How Did The Dixie Chicks Unveil The Name Change? 

The Chicks - March March (Live on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert)

The Dixie Chicks were making new music and a month before their newest album Gaslighter dropped in July 2020, they released a song from the album called March March. It was this track that would be the one to introduce the world to their new name, The Chicks. 

June 15, 2020 – A mural in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor. Image source: Leslie Barlow, Taylan DeJohnette, Maiya Lea Hartman, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are a lot of lyrics in the track that bring up that summer’s protests and demonstrations, including lyrics such as “Temperatures risin’, cities are sinkin’.” Also, in their video is about a minute of names that scroll across the screen of black people who’d been killed as a result of their skin color or who had died from police brutality, including Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery. 

Had The Dixie Chicks Made Political Statements Before Their Name Change?

December 4, 2006 – Natalie Maines in Austin, Texas. Image source: Ron Baker (https://www.flickr.com/photos/kingsnake), CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While The Dixie Chicks did not mention politics right before their name change in 2020, they are no strangers to political statements in their career. They had received a ton of backlash in 2003 for political comments Natalie Maines said during a concert while in London, which was right before America invaded and went to war with Iraq.

December 5, 2008 – President George W. Bush delivers his remarks on the economy from the south driveway. Image source: White House photo by Chris Greenberg, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In that show, she said she had been ashamed of the fact that President George W. Bush was from Texas, just like their band was. She also went on to say that the group did not support the military invading Iraq. 

When she made those comments in 2003, they almost immediately received backlash, including people burning their CDs, demonstrations being held nationwide against the group, country radio stations all over refusing to play their music, and much more. Those statements in 2003 would stick with them for years, with them never bouncing back to the same popularity that they once enjoyed with country music fans. 

However, looking back on those inflammatory comments years later, they don’t regret what happened. The truth is that they didn’t like being labeled country and didn’t want to only be associated with that genre. When the backlash from country fans and country radio stations took place, it allowed the group to break out of that box and gave them flexibility and room to move into other genres of music. 

Are The Dixie Chicks Still Political? 

The Chicks - Gaslighter (Official Video)

The Dixie Chicks, or The Chicks, as they are known now do still talk politics and haven’t shied away from it since changing their name. Throughout the eight albums they made in country music, they realized it’s worth standing up for what you believe in, which is why in 2020, they felt that the name had to go in the name of racial justice and equality.


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