October 19, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Why Dolly Parton declined a Tennessee statue in her likeness

Dolly Parton will always love Tennessee, but she has graciously declined an offer from the state’s legislature to immortalize her on Capitol grounds — at this time — giving fans even more reason to lionize the beloved country-music queen.

In a note posted on Parton’s social media accounts Thursday, the “I Will Always Love You” singer-songwriter thanked lawmakers in her native state for considering a bill to erect a statue in her likeness at the state Capitol. The Country Music Hall of Famer said she was “humbled by their intentions,” but asked leaders to remove the bill, which was introduced last month to create the monument, “from any and all consideration.”

“Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time,” Parton’s note said. “I hope, though, that somewhere down the road several years from now or perhaps after I’m gone if you still feel I deserve it, then I’m certain I will stand proud in our great State Capitol as a grateful Tennessean.”

In the meantime, the “9 to 5″ star added, she’ll “continue to try to do good work to make this great state proud.”

In June, in the wake of demonstrations protesting the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans, Parton fans rallied on social media to get a statue of the icon to replace old monuments of Confederate and Ku Klux Klan leaders in Tennessee. They launched a Change.org petition that evolved into a bill proposed by Tenn. State Rep. John Mark Windle, a Democrat, in January.

According to the Tennessean, the bill would require the State Capitol Commission, which oversees the restoration and preservation of the Capitol Complex, to develop and execute a plan to erect the Parton statue facing the famed Ryman Auditorium, the hallowed venue where she has performed many times.

The bill would create the “Dolly Parton fund” to pay for the design, construction, establishment and the maintenance of the statue, the publication said, and would be funded through gifts, grants and donations that the state receives from private sources.

The statue was meant to salute the 75-year-old living legend, who last year helped fund Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, for her lifelong contribution to the arts and philanthropy. Earlier this month, Parton, who has long shunned politics, revealed that she also twice rejected the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the Trump administration.

In December, former President Barack Obama also said on “The Tonight Show” that it was “a mistake” and “a screw-up” not to award her the honor during his tenure.

Parton already has at least one statue in her likeness. Her Tennessee hometown of Sevierville erected its tribute in 1987. It features the “Jolene” singer-songwriter barefoot and holding a guitar in front of its courthouse.

In 2016, the singer told Jimmy Kimmel that her father used to take a bucket of soapy water and “scrub all the pigeon poop off” of it. “Isn’t that the sweetest thing?”