The most controversial music video in recent memory continues to cause a stir — although this time, it’s not abundantly clear who or what is the source of this latest issue.
For the unaware, country music star Jason Aldean has become a lightning rod for criticism and cancellation after his music video “Try That in a Small Town” began picking up some steam.
Critics blasted the song as some racist, right-wing fever dream, despite the song’s lyrics never once mentioning race or politics.
Ironically, after CMT pulled the song from its airwaves, the Streisand Effect took full hold as “Try That in a Small Town” skyrocketed up charts, bringing swathes of new eyeballs (some of which belong to fans, others which belong to critics) to his polarizing music video.
Given the microscope the video was and is under, it’s little surprise that viewers noticed a recent, subtle change to the music video.
In short, as TMZ reports, imagery featuring Black Lives Matter riots was stricken from the video.
The celebrity gossip site posted a helpful video demonstrating the slight, but noticeable, difference between the original music video and the BLM-less version.
As evidenced above, various parts of the music video that featured Black Lives Matter imagery was replaced with more stock footage of Aldean simply singing the song.
As TMZ notes “footage of violence at a BLM rally, projected on a Tennessee courthouse where a Black teenager was lynched in 1927” was removed.
While the changes only amount to about six seconds of altered footage, it’s noticeable nonetheless given the microscope this song is under.
As to why or how this change was made, there’s nothing but speculation.
It’s possible that Aldean finally acquiesced a bit to his critics, who specifically had issues with the BLM imagery and the courthouse (due to its historic significance.)
Many critics specifically cited that imagery, while others decreed the whole video as “white nationalist” propaganda:
I hate tweeting the link but better to know than not: Country star Jason Aldean has released a violent white nationalist video. I look at a lot of RW media dispassionately. This one makes me mad. I’m from a working class small town, live in a small town. https://t.co/46dUEwN81l
— THE UNDERTOW, by Jeff Sharlet (@JeffSharlet) July 17, 2023
One possibility bandied by TMZ is that the deleted footage could have been copyrighted.
The outlet reached out to WAGA-TV, which is where the footage in question came from, to see if the news station asked Aldean to remove it, but did not receive a response.