Why Dolly Parton Says She Doesn’t Want Tennessee to Make a Statue of Her


**UPDATE: February 18, 2021—**Parton posted a message February 18 saying she’s not interested at this time in having a statue of her erected in Tennessee. Her reasoning is poignant. Read her statement, below. 


A monument totally dedicated to Britney Spears. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.

And it’s all the internet wants too. As Black Lives Matter protests continue around the country, people are starting to question why Southern states have so many Confederate monuments—literal figures that represent a horrific time in our nation’s history. Some protestors have taken it in their own hands to remove many of these statues. Others are petitioning that the ones standing be replaced with ones of universally beloved Southern icons, like, you guessed it, Britney Spears and Dolly Parton.

More than 40,000 people have signed a petition to replace the Confederate statues in Louisiana, Spears’s home state, with ones in the pop queen’s likeness.

“Before becoming one of the world’s most important and influential pop legends, Britney Spears was living life in a small Southern town by the name of Kentwood, Louisiana,” the petition reads. “Not only has Britney proven her talent, but she’s proven her strength of character by not only overcoming [a] highly publicized mental breakdown, but by continuously working towards improving herself. She’s an inspiration to millions.”

It then lists just a few of the many philanthropic things Spears has done in her career, like use a bulk of the $585,000 her foundation raised in 2006 to aid Hurricane Katrina relief. “She’s already earned her star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, and now it’s time for her home state to honor her with the tribute that she deserves,” the petition continues.

Folks in Tennessee want the same thing done with Parton, arguably the state’s most cherished icon. “Tennessee is littered with statues memorializing Confederate officers. History should not be forgotten, but we need not glamorize those who do not deserve our praise. Instead, let us honor a true Tennessee hero, Dolly Parton,” reads a separate petition, which has received nearly 15,000 signatures. “Aside from her beautiful music, which has touched the hearts and lives of millions of Americans, Dolly Parton‘s philanthropic heart has unquestionably changed the world for the better. From the Dollywood foundation that has provided books and scholarships to millions of American children, to the millions of dollars she has donated to dozens of organizations such as the Red Cross and COVID-19 research centers, Dolly Parton has given more to this country and this state than those Confederate officers could ever have hoped to take away.”

I’d love to see it—but I’d also love to see Black icons from these states receive monuments. Madam C. J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire, was born in Louisiana. Give her 50 monuments! Blues singer Bessie Smith comes from Chattanooga, Tennessee; she needs love too. I won’t rest until the actual legends of our country are immortalized in concrete.


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