“Dixie Chicks” Trend On Twitter As Some Disgustingly Celebrate The Death Of Toby Keith

Natalie Maines Dixie Chicks
ACM Awards

Some people just can’t help themselves.

Last night, it was announced by his family that country hitmaker Toby Keith passed away at the age of 62 after a long battle with stomach cancer:

“Toby Keith passed away peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”

Tributes have already begun pouring in for Toby from the country music world and beyond, celebrating the life of a country music legend who racked up 20 #1 hits over his long career.

But some people are disgustingly celebrating his death after Toby’s public feud with the Dixie Chicks (now just “The Chicks”) back in 2003.

If you don’t remember, it all started when the lead singer of the then-Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, spoke out against Toby’s hit “Courtesy of the Red White and Blue,” calling the song “ignorant.”

“Don’t get me started. I hate it. It’s ignorant, and it makes country music sound ignorant.

It targets an entire culture – and not just the bad people who did bad things. You’ve got to have some tact.

Anybody can write, ‘We’ll put a boot in your ass.’ But a lot of people agree with it. The kinds of songs I prefer on the subject are like Bruce Springsteen’s new songs.”

Toby responded by displaying a backdrop at his shows featuring Maines alongside Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Then, Maines showed up to the ACM Awards wearing a shirt that said “FUTK,” which many assumed stood for “F*ck You Toby Keith,” something Maines later confirmed.

So when news broke this morning of Toby’s passing, some vile people took to Twitter not to mourn, but to celebrate, with “Dixie Chicks” trending on the site as many professed they would be listening to their music in honor of Keith’s death.

Terrible. The internet really brings out the worst in people at times like this, unfortunately.

Toby’s Final Interview

Recently, Toby gave his first televised performance since his cancer diagnosis with a heartbreaking performance of “Don’t Let The Old Man In” at the People’s Choice Country Awards, where he also gave an update on his health and his future plans:

“I’ve walked some dark hallways. The Almighty’s riding shotgun.

But I feel pretty good. You have good days and bad days, but it’s a little bit of a rollercoaster. But I’m doing a lot better than I was this time last year.

I’ve always wrote with a prayer, and as long as I have Him with me, I’m cool. You just have to dig in, you don’t have a choice.”

He also made his triumphant return to the road with three recent shows in Las Vegas, which ultimately turned out to be his final concerts.

And in his final interview, Toby sat down with News on 6 in his home state of Oklahoma to discuss his battle with cancer, and how his faith has helped him through the tough days.

“Cancer’s a rollercoaster. You just sit here and wait on it to go away. It may not ever go away. And if it goes into remission it’s still going to be in the back of your mind. You’re still going to have to do scans and stuff.”

When asked how he was getting through it, Toby had a simple answer:

“Faith. You have to have your faith.

Thank God that I got it too. You take it for granted on days that things are good and you lean on it when days are bad. It’s taught me to lean on it a little more every day.”

And he said it was that faith that allowed him to make peace with wherever the journey may lead:

“I finally got to a point in the spring – I was diagnosed in October of ’21 and I was going through all the chemo, the first time I’d been through chemo and radiation and surgery – and I just got to the point where I was comfortable with whatever happened. I had my brain wrapped around it and I was in a good spot either way.

People without faith don’t have that.”

God bless Toby Keith.

ACM Awards 2003: Dixie Chicks Booed As Toby Keith Wins EOTY

The country was less than two years out from the horrific attacks on September 11th, 2001. Country music as a whole had taken on an overwhelmingly patriotic position in the months and years following the attacks, with songs like Alan Jackson‘s “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)” and Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red White and Blue” dominating the airwaves.

We were also in the middle of a war in Afghanistan, and entered the year on the brink of a United States invasion of Iraq.

While the invasion of Iraq was opposed by our allies overseas, polls showed that over 60% of Americans supported going into Iraq, as well as 70% of our representatives in Congress. Now, obviously the sentiment about the war in Iraq would change over time, but the point is – at the time, there was strong support here for the Iraq invasion, and patriotism was the name of the game in country music.

So when the Dixie Chicks – now known as just The Chicks – were at a concert in London on (of course they wouldn’t do that in Texas) March 10, 2003 and lead singer Natalie Maines spoke out against the invasion of Iraq (which British troops participated in as well) and said that she was “ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas,” the backlash was swift and severe.

The Chicks were blacklisted from thousands of country radio stations, fans burned their albums in protest, and the band members even received death threats over the comments.

And amidst all this, the Chicks were also embroiled in a very public feud with another one of the biggest country singers at the time, Toby Keith.

After Keith released “Courtesy of the Red White and Blue” in May 2002, Maines criticized the song in an interview with the Los Angeles Times:

“I hate it. It’s ignorant, and it makes country music sound ignorant. It targets an entire culture – and not just the bad people who did bad things. You’ve got to have some tact.

Anybody can write, ‘We’ll put a boot in your ass.’ But a lot of people agree with it. The kinds of songs I prefer on the subject are like Bruce Springsteen’s new songs.”

Keith responded by attacking Maines as a songwriter:

“She’s not a songwriter, so we can’t discuss the mechanics of the song.

Why don’t you just go down on Second Avenue and pick one of those homeless guys and ask him what he thinks about it? To me it’s the same.”

But that wasn’t the end of the Dixie Chicks/Toby Keith beef: After her comments, Keith began displaying a doctored image of Maines and Saddam Hussein on the screen behind him at his shows.

So it’s with all of this going on that we finally get to the ACM Awards in May 2003.

The Dixie Chicks were nominated for three awards that year, including Entertainer of the Year – alongside none other than Toby Keith.

During their performance that night, Maines took another shot at Keith by wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with “F U T K.”

But the Chicks weren’t even at the ACM Awards that night – instead, they performed in front of a more friendly crowd, live from one of their concerts in Austin, Texas.

And it’s probably a good thing they weren’t in Vegas for the awards. On a night that featured tributes to our soldiers, bold proclamations from Wayne Newton celebrating the then-recent death of Saddam Hussein, and patriotic performances like Darryl Worley’s “Have You Forgotten,” the Dixie Chicks didn’t exactly receive a warm reception at the ACM Awards.

In fact, it was downright hostile.

Every time the Dixie Chicks’ name was announced, the crowd in Vegas rained down boos. So when it came time to give out the Entertainer of the Year Award, presenter Vince Gill jokingly mumbled their name as he announced them as a nominee –  because he knew what was coming.

Sure enough, the audience erupted in boos, while nice-guy Vince made a futile plea for forgiveness. But when the camera quickly cut to the next nominee, Alan Jackson, he seemed to be enjoying the moment as he wiped the tears of laughter from his eyes.

So who won the night’s top prize? Well, none other than Toby Keith – whose name Vince jokingly noted was on somebody’s shirt that night, in reference to the “F U T K” shirt worn by Maines.

Although Toby wasn’t there either, or left early, and fellow Okies (as Vince would put it) Reba McEntire and Vince himself, would accept the award on his behalf.

Looking back on the moment, it’s hard to imagine something like this happening at the ACM Awards anymore as they’ve become more and more sanitized. It’s basically one big circle jerk now that’s pretty much devoid of any controversy (and also any interest from fans, apparently).

But back in 2003, there were plenty of feuds and – and boos – to go around when it came to the Dixie Chicks.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock