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US country band Dixie Chicks drop the Dixie from their name

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image captionEmily Robison (left) and Natalie Maines of The Chicks

Country band Dixie Chicks have changed their name to The Chicks, to help highlight racial inequality in the US.

"Dixie" was often used as a nickname for the southern states that made up the Confederate States of America during the US Civil War era.

The Texas trio revealed they'd dropped it on Thursday, while unveiling a protest song called March March.

They follow in the footsteps of US pop group Lady Antebellum, who changed their name earlier this month.

Antebellum has similar connotations with the slavery-era.

  • Hit US band change name over slave-era links

The move allies the Not Ready to Make Nice singers, who have won 13 Grammy Awards, with the anti-racism movement that has gathered momentum in the wake of the death of George Floyd - a black American, who died while in the custody of a white police officer.

It comes a week after Variety writer Jeremy Helligar questioned the acceptability of the name in 2020.

"The Dixie Chicks don't need to change their name to get that kind of publicity," he wrote, referring to the widespread reports about the newly-named Lady A, "but their silence has been deafening."

"This is a discussion we need to have, and they should be a part of it," he added.

'Gracious gesture'

The term Dixie, or Dixieland, which was also sung about in Elvis's epic American Trilogy, derives from the states around the Mason-Dixon line.

In a statement obtained by Pitchfork The Chicks offered "a sincere and heartfelt thank you" to a pre-existing New Zealand band, who were already operating under that name, for allowing them to share it.

"We are honoured to co-exist together in the world with these exceptionally talented sisters," they said.

The band have previously used their platform to make a political point, telling a London crowd in 2003 that they did not support the US's invasion of Iraq.

Natalie Maines from the band said they were "ashamed" of then-US President George W Bush being from Texas.

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