In a new interview with Billboard, Dolly Parton said "of course Black lives matter"

By Eric Todisco
August 18, 2020 02:10 PM
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A Nashville-based artist is paying tribute to Dolly Parton and her public support for the Black Lives Matter movement with a massive, flowery mural of the country music icon.

On Thursday, artist Kim Radford began painting a colorful mural of Parton, 74, outside The 5 Spot on Forrest Avenue in East Nashville. The mural was completed on Friday — just as Parton shared her positive stance on the Black Lives Matter movement in a wide-ranging interview with Billboard.

Inspired by Parton's comments, Radford decided to include a last-minute addition to the mural.

"The day before I finished the mural, Dolly had an amazing press release about her upcoming Christmas album and her interview with Billboard. As I painted the final touches I knew her sassy loving quote — 'Of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter?' — would be a perfect finish to send out in my neighborhood," Radford told CNN.

"This piece was a passion project and the timing was a happy accident coinciding with her press," she added.

Dolly Parton mural in Nashville
| Credit: Shelley Mays/The Tennessean /USA Today Network/Sipa

Radford said that she always intended to paint Parton's mural outside The 5 Spot due to its proximity to Radford's own neighborhood and it being in a spot where many aspiring musicians flock to pursue their careers, just as Parton once did.

"It's a magical little dive bar and Dolly adds the mojo this neighborhood needed," the artist said.

In the Billboard interview released last week, Parton opened up about respecting the call for racial justice in the fight against police brutality and systemic racism, even if she may not attend in-person protests.

"I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen," said Parton. "And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!"

Dolly Parton
| Credit: Fran Strine

Parton was similarly celebrated back in June, when her fans called on her home state of Tennessee to replace all Confederate statues with a "monument" of the country music legend.

An online petition, which now has over 23,000 signatures as of Tuesday, calls for the state's officials to remove the "statues memorializing confederate officers" and "honor a true Tennessee hero, Dolly Parton."

"History should not be forgotten, but we need not glamorize those who do not deserve our praise," the petition states. "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. Let's replace the statues of men who sought to tear this country apart with a monument to the woman who has worked her entire life to bring us closer together. "

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.