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Dixie Chicks Drop 'Dixie' from Name with Release of New Protest Song

FILE - Emily Robison, Natalie Maines and Martie Maguire, members of The Dixie Chicks, wave to the crowd as they perform on ABC's "Good Morning America" concert series in Bryant Park, in New York, May 26, 2006. The band has changed its name to The Chicks.

Country music trio The Dixie Chicks are now just The Chicks, joining other artists and companies who have recently altered their brands to discard names that connote racism or slavery.

The Chicks' release of a new protest song Thursday came with new social media handles, a new website address and a new cover for an upcoming album.

"We want to meet this moment," members Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines and Emily Strayer said in a joint statement on their website, the only comment on the name change thus far. The Grammy-winning group has performed under its previous moniker since its start in 1989.

Dixie and Dixieland are nicknames for the U.S. South, and may have come from the Mason-Dixon line, once considered the line between "free" Northern states and "slave" Southern states.

The name change came just a week after writer Jeremy Helligar challenged The Chicks' former name in a Variety magazine Op-Ed.

"For many Black people, (Dixie) conjures a time and a place of bondage," Helligar said.

The Chicks are releasing their first album in 14 years next month, "Gaslighter." The music video for new protest song "March March" uses footage from Black Lives Matter protests and features the names of prominent victims of racism and police brutality, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

In a statement to online magazine Pitchfork, the group thanked a New Zealand-based duo, also called The Chicks, for letting them "share the name."

Country group Lady A, previously known as Lady Antebellum, made a similar change earlier this month to drop associations with the pre-Civil War South. The band faced opposition from Anita White, a Black singer who has used the stage name Lady A for over 20 years. A meeting between the group and White ended in "positive solutions and common ground," according to social media posts by both.