Thanks to social media, country stars are increasingly engaging their fans on typically "taboo" topics, and it's about damn time.
On the heels of movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp and #NeverAgain, country artists are using their platform to support causes they believe in. Sometimes the trolls come out, because it's the internet and folks can't help but feel entitled to say nasty things.
But the response from true fans is really heartwarming. Maren Morris has a pretty good take on that aspect, too.
"I don't think watering yourself down ends up gaining you any more fans," she told Wide Open Country at a recent No. 1 party. "I deal with it every time I say something more outspoken. You lose 1,000 followers, but the ones that stick with you are really in it with you for good."
Let's take a look at eight times in the past year country stars stood up for what they believe in on social media.
Dan Smyers Casts His Vote For Oprah
At the 2018 Golden Globes Awards, Oprah received the Cecile B. Demille Award for lifetime achievement. In her rousing acceptance speech, Oprah thanked and defended the press, told tales of injustice and threw her entire support behind the marginalized and attacked, especially black women. In a simple tweet, Dan Smyers of Dan + Shay endorsed Oprah and, presumably, the principles in her speech.
Oprah. For. President.
— Dan Smyers (@dansmyers) January 8, 2018
Brothers Osborne Defend "Shitholes"
When reports surfaced that Donald Trump called Haiti and African nations "shithole countries" in talking about immigration policy, Brothers Osborne offered this poetic, classic take on humble upbringings. It's as important for what it doesn't say as what it does, and shows their heart and personal connection to the issue. Of course, Brothers Osborne have not-so-subtly criticized the president. Their video for "It Ain't My Fault" even finds a Trump-masked robber foiled by a wall. But this sincere moment sparked a lot of love from fellow country singers and fans from humble means alike.
Our family started in a trailer park in Odenton Maryland. Some would have called it a shithole. We called it a start.
— Brothers Osborne (@brothersosborne) January 12, 2018
Jennifer Nettles Talks Guns On Twitter
Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles chose to engage her Twitter followers in a conversation about gun ownership after the Parkland shooting. She started by respectfully asking why somebody might need the type of weapon most commonly used in mass shootings in America. What ensued was a largely respectful conversation in which Nettles and followers traded comments and questions. Check out Nettles' whole feed around the conversation if you want to believe the Internet can actually be a place for constructive conversation amongst strangers.
I have a genuine question.Can someone educate/inform me as to me the fear behind banning the guns known as “automatic/semi-automatic/assault rifles”? Why does one want those kinds of guns?I can understand, in general, gun ownership, but I don’t understand these.What am I missing?
— Jennifer Nettles (@JenniferNettles) February 21, 2018
Cam Wears Feminism With Pride
Easily one of the most villainized synonyms for "supporter of equality" out there, "feminist" has been twisted to mean many different things to many different people. But in a December 2017 Instagram post, Cam made it very clear she isn't going to back down or change who she is to make others feel comfortable. The post became one of her most-liked and most-commented on posts.
Jason Isbell Has Home State Humor
Anybody who pays cursory attention to Jason Isbell's interviews and social media probably gleans he's no fan of President Trump. But Isbell saved some of his strongest retweet and pun game for Roy Moore, the defeated Senate candidate from Alabama who came close to securing a seat in the Federal government despite multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and past ties to white nationalist groups. Being from Alabama, Isbell made sure to openly criticize his home state for almost electing Moore. The first tweet is his earnest opinion from November 2017. The second is a solid pun from March 2018.
Going to visit the family in Alabama tomorrow, and I’m so very thankful that they aren’t racist or homophobic or living in the awful parts of the past. I feel very fortunate for that.
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) November 22, 2017
Maybe he should Roy less https://t.co/9FpX90KMDd
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) March 5, 2018
Tim McGraw Praises Stores Raising Gun Ages
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have been outspoke about gun control in the past, but McGraw took a slightly different tact recently when several major retailers announced they were raising age limits to purchase certain guns to 21 years old. He thanked them for taking a stand and promoting "meaningful discussion."
— Tim McGraw (@TheTimMcGraw) March 3, 2018
Maren Morris Endorses Future Leaders
Well, Dan Smyers' candidate Oprah might have some competition from Emma Gonzalez, whom Maren Morris "endorsed" for president in an Instagram post. Gonzalez is an outspoken survivor of the Parkland school shooting and one of the founders of the #NeverAgain movement. Morris also linked to Gonzalez' speech in her Instagram bio -- not a minor commitment, given you only get one link to promote in your bio.
Musgraves Pens Her Love For LGBTQ
Musgraves has no problem being outspoken about sexuality, and in a touching moment, she penned a letter to the LGBTQ community for Billboard. You wouldn't think supporting humans for loving humans would be taboo, but it's still a cause country singers rarely champion so openly. Rather than pretend to be a pioneer, Musgraves admits that her upbringing in rural East Texas skewed her early views on sexuality, but she's since expanded her worldview and become a champion for the community.