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Jason Aldean Met by Protestors at Connecticut Concert

More than two weeks after releasing his controversial single and video “Try That in a Small Town,” Jason Aldean was met by a group of protestors gathered outside the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut on Sunday (July 30). The Hartford concert was rescheduled after Aldean suffered heatstroke during the original July 15 show.

Videos by American Songwriter

The protest, organized by Kamora’s Cultural Corner and titled “Small Towns Against Hate,” also encouraged attendees to wear ballroom attire.

“Big city and small town activists are uniting Sunday, July 30 at the Xfinity Theatre/Meadows in Hartford CT to promote love and equality at the Jason Aldean concert, 5-8 p.m.” read the official invitation for protestors on Facebook. “Ball gown attire is encouraged.”

Attendees were protesting Aldean’s video for “Try That in a Small Town,” which was filmed at the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tenn., the site of a 1927 lynching and features what some have suggested anti-protest imagery and lyrics alluding to violence. Black Lives Matter protests footage, which was also featured has since been edited out of the original video.

[RELATED: Ted Nugent Responds to “Idiots” Reacting to Jason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town]

Shortly after the video premiered on July 14, Aldean received backlash from fans and fellow musicians, along with some support from others, for his lyrics and the imagery in the video, which was also pulled by CMT from its rotation.

“There’s this natural discourse that says small-town America should be scared of big-city America,” said Kamora Herrington, who organized the protest. “But these folks don’t know that when we have to venture out into their communities. We are scared because of all these stereotypes out there.”

On the other side of the protests were fans, who supported the message behind the Aldean single. “There’s nothing really racist about the actual song,” said Joe Ward, a fan from Bristol, Connecticut. “If we’re taking something that happened in 1927, and we’re going to carry it with us for 100 years, I can guarantee you that they probably didn’t even really know the situation that was going on.”

[RELATED: TJason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town” Tops Country Charts]

On Tuesday (July 18), Aldean also responded to the reactions on social media. “In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests,” said Aldean. “These references are not only meritless but dangerous. There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it — and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage — and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music, this one goes too far.”

Aldean also referenced the Route 91 Harvest music festival in 2017, where he was a headline performer during the deadliest mass shooting the U.S. history.

“As so many pointed out, I was present at Route 91-where so many lost their lives and our community recently suffered another heartbreaking tragedy,” added Aldean. “No one, including me, wants to continue to see senseless headlines or families ripped apart.”

Since its release, ‘Try That in a Small Town” went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 and the Global 200 charts.

Photo: Joshua Applegate/Getty Images

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