Jason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town” music video is now six seconds shorter, as images of a Black Lives Matter demonstration have been removed. The decision is the latest in a series of discoveries about the making of and promotion of a clip that now has 19 million views.
It’s not clear when the footage was removed. Several outlets, including the Washington Post, report that a news clip from Fox 5 in Atlanta was edited out. The clip in question depicted a violent confrontation during a 2020 BLM protest.
The snippet appeared twice, including on the exterior wall of the Maury County Courthouse, where a Black teen named Henry Choate was lynched in 1927. Fox 5 has not commented on the edit.
@dannyfcollins Thank you to my followers who tag me. All I’m saying is lets get real. To everyone supporting Jason Aldean what else do you need to see or hear? Accept accountability and do better. #fyp #endracism #jasonaldean ♬ original sound – Danny Collins
Users on TikTok have spotted several more troubling things about the music video in the 12 days since its release. For starters, some of the news footage was pulled from events outside of the United States, including (per Rolling Stone) a 2010 clip from G20 protests in Toronto.
Another clip of a woman flipping off riot police or protesters is reportedly from Germany and can be purchased for $69 at Pond5.
A TikTok user named Danny Collins noticed a problem with a newspaper clip found in a promotional video for Aldean’s music video. He tracked down the source: A 1956 letter to the editor from the Petal Paper in Mississippi. The contents of the letter praise the newspaper’s editor for a decision to ridicule the White Citizens Council Crowd. The letter’s author — a NAACP public relationships consultant named Dan Gross — wonders what happened after P.D. East ran the full-page ad.
The Smithsonian has that answer (and the full-page ad). East was threatened to the point of an ulcer, and his newspaper slowly began to fail.
“And why would this happen to Mr. P.D. East?” Collins asks. “Because he tried that in a small town.”