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Tennessee state rep claims Jason Aldean song normalizes 'racist violence': 'Lynching anthem'

Democratic Tennessee state Rep. Justin Jones claimed Jason Aldean's "Small Town" song is a "lynching anthem" that normalizes "racist violence."

Tennessee state Rep. Justin Jones called out country star Jason Aldean, describing his "Try that in a Small Town" song as a "lynching anthem."

Jones joined CNN's Kaitlan Collins on Wednesday and said the song must be condemned. 

"This song is about normalizing racist violence, vigilanteism and White national nationalism. And it is by glorifying a south that we’re moving forward from and that we're trying to move forward from in Tennessee," Jones said. "This is a lynching anthem."

"This is something we must condemn because if we normalize this racist, violent rhetoric, then we normalize the racist, violent actions. We cannot allow that. Because we see what's happening in this nation, I was expelled for challenging gun violence. This song is about this proliferation of guns in our communities, of violence, of taking things into our own hands when we feel threaten bid people when they feel different than us. This is shameful and we must condemn it," he continued.


Jones was expelled from the legislature in April after he participated in a gun-control protest on the Tennessee House floor. He was reinstated roughly a week after he was expelled. 

He said the song normalized "gun extremism." 

"This is not about bringing us together but it's about lifting up division and fear of neighbor. This is not about caring for each other. It is very shameful that this is what he close to offer in light of what we saw this year. In Maury County where he performed the song, just last week the KKK left fliers in front of Black churches. I mean let's be honest about what this is about. So we must be truthful to condemn this," he said. 

"Our vision is a new south, a south where we care for each other, where we uplift the beloved community. Where we lift up a community where our kids our protected, and not guns. So this song is about promoting violence, normalizing violence, particularly white vigilante violence, and Jason Aldean should be ashamed of himself for promoting a song that seeks our darkest history instead of our better angel," Jones continued. 


Aldean hit back at criticism of his song on Wednesday in a post to social media.

"In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests," Aldean wrote. "These references are not only meritless, but dangerous."

"There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it- and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage -and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music- this one goes too far," he continued. 

At a concert on Friday, Aldean addressed the accusations again and praised America. 

"Here's the thing," he said. "I feel like everybody is entitled to their opinion," he said. "You can think something all you want to; it doesn't mean it's true – right?" 

"What I am is a proud American. I'm proud to be from here. I love our country. I want to see it restored to what it once was before all of this bulls--t started happening to us," he continued. "I love my country, I love my family, and I will do anything to protect that – I can tell you that right now."

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