jason aldean

s_bukley/Shutterstock Jason Aldean/YouTube Remix by Caterina Cox

Try what in a small town, exactly?: Country star Jason Aldean’s controversy highlights the rise of citizen journalism

You’re as likely to hear the latest update about Jason Aldean’s problematic behavior on TikTok as you are on CNN.


Lon Harris


Posted on Jul 27, 2023   Updated on Jul 27, 2023, 2:50 pm CDT


By now, most Americans have probably heard at least a little bit of country music artist Jason Aldean’s latest release, “Try That in a Small Town.” Though Aldean has claimed it’s simply an ode to community and togetherness, others have noted that pointed lyrics like “Got a gun that my granddad gave me / They say one day they’re gonna round up / Well, that sh*t may fly in the city, good luck” and “See how far ya make it down the road / Around here, we take care of our own” are essentially violent threats that recall the bigotry and intolerance that are also sometimes hallmarks of rural life in America. Thus, the “Jason Aldean controversy” went viral this week.

Jason Aldean released the song along with a music video, which was shot in front of a Tennessee courthouse which was the site of both a lynching in 1927 and a race riot in 1946. The video also features a variety of footage featuring protests, civil unrest, and more behavior that the singer apparently plans to respond to with his granddad’s ol’ rifle. 

Jason Aldean’s team, already under controversy due to the song’s lyrical content, defended the video by claiming that all of this footage was taken from real news clips featured on American TV. This is where TikToker Destinee Stark stepped in, posting a video in which she highlighted various clips used in the Aldean music video that was not, in fact, featured in the US news cycle. Within the first 30 seconds of the video, Stark identifies two misleading clips: one shot during a festival in German and the other produced by a Bulgarian stock footage studio. …

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*First Published: Jul 27, 2023, 1:22 pm CDT