Jason Aldean still doesn't get why his song "Try That in a Small Town" and its accompanying music video have caused so much controversy.
In a preview clip from a CBS Mornings interview set to air Wednesday, the country star, 46, is asked to recall his initial reaction when some critics said his music and imagery "had racist, undertones and you know, it was like a call to arms?"
"How?!" Aldean replied.
Told by CBS News' Jan Crawford that the music video was seen as "a threatening kind of video for Black people," Aldean countered that "there was people of all color doing stuff in the video, that's what I don't understand."
He continued: "You know, there was white people in there. There was Black people. I mean, this video did not shine light on one specific group and say, 'That's the problem.' So, and anybody that saw that in the video, then you weren't looking hard enough in the video is all I can tell you."
CBS Jason Aldean on 'CBS Mornings'
The "Try That in a Small Town" music video first sparked criticism in July for its use of Black Lives Matter protest footage and lyrics like: "Got a gun that my granddad gave me/They say one day they're gonna round up/Well, that s--- might fly in the city/Good luck."
At the time, Aldean slammed the "meritless" and "dangerous" accusations made against him. "In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests," he wrote on social media, adding that there's "not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it."
TUNE IN: Country music star @Jason_Aldean opens up about his controversial hit, “Try That In A Small Town,” which has prompted both backlash and praise, tomorrow on CBS Mornings. pic.twitter.com/9Jo3SqkfVl
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) October 31, 2023
He later blamed the backlash on "cancel culture," which he described as "something that, if people don't like what you say, they try to make sure they can cancel you, which means try to ruin your life, ruin everything."
"What I am is a proud American," he added. "I'm proud to be from here. I love our country, I want to see it restored to what it once was before all this bulls--- started happening to us. I love our country, I love my family, and I will do anything to protect that. I can tell you that right now."
Amid all the controversy, "Try That in a Small Town" went on to become Aldean's biggest hit in years.
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