Music

Months After Ban, CMT Rolls Out Welcome Wagon for Jason Aldean

Controversial singer will perform at the network’s music awards ceremony this weekend

Less than a year ago, CMT pulled Jason Aldean‘s controversial “Try That in a Small Town” music video, ostensibly because the song dealt in white-power tropes and the clip featured footage shot in a place where a Black man was once lynched. Reps for the network didn’t comment at the time on the ban other than that the video would no longer air, so the motives for removing the video perhaps remain unclear. Now the network is welcoming the singer back with open arms.

Aldean will perform “Let Your Boys Be Country” this weekend on the CMT Music Awards, which airs live on CBS at 8 p.m ET on April 7. The event will take place at Austin’s Moody Center.

Previously, CMT nominated Aldean 31 times for awards and he has won four times. This weekend’s ceremony will mark Aldean’s ninth time performing at the awards show.

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Aldean became something of a media lightning rod last year with the release of “Try That in a Small Town,” which seemed to be the broadest part of a crescendo of bigoted rhetoric. A Rolling Stone timeline of Aldean’s controversies found instances going back to 2015 where Aldean wore Blackface, several instances where he wore a T-shirt bearing the Confederate flag, his support of his wife’s transphobic comments, and other questionable behavior. He has commented that he is “cool with” the controversy around “Try That in a Small Town.”

Last year, he and Kid Rock embarked on a Rock the Country Tour of small towns. Aldean’s return to the mainstream began earlier this year when the iHeartCountry festival booked him for an appearance.

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