Country Music Association bans Confederate flag imagery from Tennessee festival 

During the two years since a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, there have been more efforts to remove Confederate symbols.

Returning with its first in-person event in almost three years, the Country Music Association has announced a ban on the display of Confederate imagery during its four-day festival in Nashville, Tennessee. The new policy aligns with decisions from other event organizers and venues during the last two years of racial reckoning in the United States.

According to the Tennessean, “Confederate flag imagery of any kind” is listed under prohibited items for the 2022 festival, which starts June 9.

In a statement, the Country Music Association wrote, “We have always had policies in place that protect the safety of our fans and ban discrimination, but we felt it was important to further refine our language to explicitly outline what will and will not be tolerated.” 

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During the two years since a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, there have been more efforts to remove Confederate symbols. Across the nation, calls to remove emblems, flags and statues associated with the Confederacy have increased. Soon after Floyd’s death, NASCAR banned Confederate flags at its events. In Nashville, the removal of a statue of Nathan Bedford, a Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader, ignited controversy. And earlier this year, a California music festival banned the racist emblem at its event.

The CMA statement said the organization publicized its decision about the flag when it announced the music lineup earlier this spring. “…Our event policy was published on our website, which states any behavior that causes one of our attendees to fear for their personal safety will not be tolerated, and that is inclusive of any displays of the Confederate flag,” the statement read.

The Stagecoach Festival, a country music event in Indio, California, banned the Confederate flag this year as well, noting that “No divisive symbols, including, without limitation, Confederate flags and racially disparaging or other inappropriate imagery/public displays,” would be allowed, Rolling Stone reported.

Country music is experiencing an influx of diverse stars making hit songs, including Black talent such as Jimmie Allen, who performed with R&B star Monica and Little Big Town at the CMT Music Awards this year. 

The Tennessean reported that one country star, Luke Combs, apologized last year for his past use of the Confederate flag, saying at the 2021 Country Radio Seminar, “As I’ve grown in my time as an artist, and as the world has changed drastically in the last five to seven years, I am now aware how painful that image can be.” Combs added, “…I would never want to be associated with something that brings so much hurt to someone else.”

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