Why Did CMT Ban Jason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town”?

Jason Aldean landed smack in the middle of controversy last summer when the country artist released the music video for his single “Try That in a Small Town.” Those opposed to the video interpreted the setting—the site of a Black teen’s lynching in 1927—as a rebuke of the Black Lives Matter movement. CMT initially played the video following its July release. However, the country music network quickly pulled it from the airwaves following widespread backlash.

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Why Did CMT Remove “Try That in a Small Town” Video?

The video for “Try That in a Small Town” features Aldean and his band performing in front of the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee. Nearly a century earlier, a hundreds-strong mob had murdered 18-year-old Henry Choate at that very site.

Choate, who was Black, stood accused of assaulting at 16-year-old white girl. He denied it, and the girl was never able to identify him as her attacker. Still, the mob hung Choate from the second floor of the courthouse, where he died.

On the track, Aldean sings, 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. In the video, these lyrics are juxtaposed against images of a burning American flag and anti-police brutality protests.

Jason Aldean Says “Try That in a Small Town” is the Feeling of Community

To some, the video reads like an endorsement of gun violence. The “Big Green Tractor” singer denied these claims on social media, saying that the lyrics reference “the feeling of a community that I had growing up, where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief.”

CMT confirmed to Billboard that it had banned the video. However, the outlet declined to give a reason or comment further.

Jason Aldean Is Still Set to Perform at CMT Awards

The fallout from “Try That In a Small Town” isn’t keeping Aldean from the CMT Music Awards. The Macon, Georgia native will perform “Let Your Boys Be Country” during Sunday’s (April 7) ceremony at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas.

[RELATED: Jason Aldean Talks Why Song “Let Your Boys Be Country” is So Necessary in Today’s World]

The same song also scored a nomination for Video of the Year.

While some were excited to tune in, several fans questioned Aldean’s decision. “On the same network @CMT that took your video down?” one X/Twitter user wrote.

(Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for BBR/BMG)

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