The trio famously raised eyebrows for criticising former U.S. leader George W. Bush's war policies, and now the "Goodbye Earl" hitmakers are under fire again - from writer Jeremy Helligar.
In a new Variety column, he argues the band should rethink its name, explaining, "Regardless of its origin, for many Black people, it conjures a time and a place of bondage."
"Dixie, for the record, is the epitome of white America, a celebration of a Southern tradition that is indivisible from Black slaves and those grand plantations where they were forced to toil for free.
"The origin of the word, though, is unclear. One theory links it to Jeremiah Dixon, who along with Charles Mason, drew the Mason-Dixon line as the border between four states that later became the unofficial separation between free states and slave states. Other less likely theories trace it back to a slave owner from Manhattan as well as 'dix', a word written on Louisiana's 10-dollar bills pre-Civil War that's French for 'ten.' "
Helligar, a former editor for People, Teen People, Us Weekly, and Entertainment Weekly, adds times have "changed dramatically," adding, "It's hard to imagine many Black Southerners today tying their appreciation of their homeland to 'Dixie', even if, according to legend, it's the title of one of Abraham Lincoln's favourite songs (one, incidentally, in which the author longs to be in 'the land of cotton' because 'old times there are not forgotten')."
The writer's piece comes after another country trio, Lady Antebellum, announced they had changed their name to Lady A in an effort to distance themselves from 'Antebellum', a term with ties to slavery.