Dolly Parton backs racial injustice movement: 'Of course Black lives matter'

“I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen," she said in a new interview with Billboard magazine.
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Dolly Parton is showing her support for the Black Lives Matter movement.Nathan Congleton / TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

Dolly Parton is sharing her support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing protests over racial injustice.

The country superstar, 74, opened up about her views in a recent cover story interview for Billboard.

"I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen," she said. “And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white a---- are the only ones that matter? No!"

She also talked about her decision in 2018 to change the name of her Civil War-themed dining attraction in Tennessee and Missouri from Dixie Stampede to Dolly Parton’s Stampede.

"There’s such a thing as innocent ignorance, and so many of us are guilty of that," she told Billboard. "When they said 'Dixie' was an offensive word, I thought, 'Well, I don’t want to offend anybody. This is a business. We’ll just call it The Stampede.' As soon as you realize that (something) is a problem, you should fix it. Don’t be a dumba--. That’s where my heart is. I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose."

Parton’s comments come as multiple artists reevaluate the racial implications of their performing names. The band formerly known as the Dixie Chicks recently dropped "Dixie" from their name, due to the word’s connection to slavery and the Civil War-era South.

The members of the country group Lady Antebellum also renamed themselves Lady A, citing the racial and cultural connotations of the word "antebellum."

"We are regretful and embarrassed to say that we did not take into account the associations that weigh down this word referring to the period of history before The Civil War, which includes slavery," the band said in a statement in June.

In her recent interview, Parton also said she tries to approach life with an open and non-judgmental attitude.

"I do believe we all have a right to be exactly who we are, and it is not my place to judge," she said. "All these good Christian people that are supposed to be such good Christian people, the last thing we’re supposed to do is to judge one another. God is the judge, not us. I just try to be myself. I try to let everybody else be themselves."