Before performing his song “Try That In A Small Town,” country singer Jason Aldean addressed a crowd in Cincinnati, slamming cancel culture.

The song was released in May, but it gained popularity when CMT began playing the music video. Following online criticism of the song’s lyrics, CMT removed the video and Aldean issued a public response via Twitter. Critics have described the song as a “modern lynching song” and a tribute to the Jim Crow South’s sundown towns.

“I’ve seen a lot of stuff suggesting I’m this, suggesting I’m that,” Aldean tells the fans at his Friday night show in Cincinnati. “Hey, here’s the deal, here’s the deal—here’s one thing I feel.” Everyone, in my opinion, has the right to an opinion. You can think whatever you want, but it doesn’t make it true, right? So I’m a proud American, and I’m pleased to be from here.”

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Following Aldean’s message about loving America and his family, the audience erupted in screams of “USA!” He wants to see the country’restored’ to what it was “before all this bullshit started happening to us.” Aldean also took the opportunity to criticize cancel culture, telling the audience that “it’s clear a bunch of country music fans” can see what’s happening to him. He also stated that many people had asked him if he would play “Try That in a Small Town” during his set in the days leading up to the show.

“I know a lot of you guys grew up like I did,” Aldean says to the audience. “You kind of have the same values, the same principles that I do, which is that we want to take our kids to the movies and not have to worry about some asshole coming in and shooting up the theater.” So someone asked me, ‘Hey buddy, do you think you’ll perform this song tonight?’ The solution is straightforward. “The people have spoken, and you guys have spoken very loudly this week.”

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