USA: Documentary film about Dixie Chicks: ‘Shut up & Sing’



‘Shut up & Sing’ – a documentary film about Dixie Chicks – awarded

Numerous awards have been given to the documentary film about freedom of speech and censorship in the field of American country music

“Shut up & Sing” documents the country trio The Dixie Chicks during the three years of medial and public hysteria that followed after the lead singer Natalie Maines had criticised president George W. Bush at a concert in London in 2003. The film is about the freedom of speech and censorship due to a musician speaking out against the “popular” opinion.

The film was awarded in Aspen Filmfest, Boston Society of Film Critics Awards, Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, Chicago International Film Festival, Online Film Critics Society Awards, San Diego Film Critics Society Awards, Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards and Woodstock Film Festival.

During the Dixie Chicks’ 2003 ‘Top of the World’ tour, it was singer Natalie Maines who set off a firestorm on the eve of “shock and awe” when she told British concertgoers: “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.”

The film “Shut Up and Sing” demonstrates how all hell broke loose after Natalie Maines’ on-stage comment made the media rounds. The Chicks lost most of their airtime on right-leaning country-western radio; CD and concert ticket sales plummeted. Encouraged by reactionary bloggers and DJs, ex-fans destroyed Chicks CDs en masse during the ensuing “Dixie Chicks Destruction” campaign. Concerts were picketed by Red-baiters who called the Chicks “traitors” and “communists,” although the group’s fans were divided, with many remaining loyal.

Worst of all, bomb-sniffing dogs and metal detectors were deployed at Dixie Chicks concerts. Under heavy security, the Texas trio confronted a 2003 death threat at a Dallas performance, after a letter threatened to shoot Maines in the same city where John F. Kennedy had been gunned down 40 years earlier. For his part, President Bush appeared to egg on the Chicks’ persecutors, saying: “They shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records.”

Dixie Chicks

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