Column: TikTok trend changes views on country music

As+they+perform+for+a+recording%2C+sophomore+Gianna+Galante+and+senior+Emily+Reish+do+a+TikTok+dance+to+%22All+About+That+Cake%22+by+Nodis.+In+the+attached+article%2C+columnist+Rusty+Joe+Gonzales+discusses+how+TikTok+documents+activism+and+a+return+of+country+music+to+%22its++original+roots+of+letting+underrepresented+artists+have+a+voice.%22+Besides+activism%2C+some+students+use+the+app+to+connect+with+others.+%22TikTok+is+a+nice+outlet%2C%22+Galante+said.+%22I+really+like+creating+videos+on+there+for+my+friends+and+others+to+see.%22

As they perform for a recording, sophomore Gianna Galante and senior Emily Reish do a TikTok dance to “All About That Cake” by Nodis. In the attached article, columnist Rusty Joe Gonzales discusses how TikTok documents activism and a return of country music to “its original roots of letting underrepresented artists have a voice.” Besides activism, some students use the app to connect with others. “TikTok is a nice outlet,” Galante said. “I really like creating videos on there for my friends and others to see.”

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TikTok has become much more than a tool for silly dances and a reincarnation of the old platform Vine. It has become a place for political activism and a way to shed light on underrepresented and marginalized groups.”

— Columnist Rusty Joe Gonzales

TikTok is an app we all probably spend an unhealthy amount of time on, even I have a daily average of three hours there. For better or for worse, it’s safe to say a good majority of our generation, Generation Z, is addicted to it. TikTok has become much more than a tool for silly dances and a reincarnation of the old platform Vine. In fact, TikTok has become something much, much more. It has become a place for political activism and a way to shed light on underrepresented and marginalized groups.

It comes as no surprise that during an election year, with political stakes at an all-time high, people are reclaiming the “conservative” stereotype that has been associated with country music, a genre that became patriotic after the events of 9/11. They state facts along with their opinion while dancing to Luke Bryan’s song “Country Girl (Shake it for me),” a hit of his from 2011. The dance is used to keep the videos on people’s “For You” page, as the TikTok algorithm seems to put the spotlight on videos of people dancing. The main part of these videos is the facts that people are putting in them. Facts about so-called “rednecks” and the Battle of Blair Mountain, the largest labor uprising in the United States. People have also used the audio to point out popular country artists that fall under the “liberal” label on the political spectrum.

Country music has always been deeply rooted into “far-right” culture and history and has been a popular genre for the blue-collar workers. Recently, country music has shown more pop influence, and it includes men singing about their trucks, their girlfriends, and enjoying a cold alcoholic drink. Once 9/11 hit, country music became a heavily patriotic genre, so much so that artists ignored all the bad aspects of the United States. I believe that this genre has come back around to its original roots of letting underrepresented artists have a voice. This evolution can be seen with artists like Lil Nas X, an LGBTQ+ Black artist who topped both country and pop charts with his hit “Old Town Road.” Then, at least from my exposure, came Kane Brown, another Black artist who, while still having pop elements, sings about traditional country values such as having a peaceful life and enjoying what you have with the ones you love. I believe that this genre has come back around to its original roots of letting underrepresented artists have a voice.

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Overall, country music has come a long way from its labor uprising roots that occurred over 100 years ago in West Virginia. While I firmly believe that any and all music genres can be digested by all types of people, with country music coming back to its roots, this past is definitely hard to ignore. If you previously hated on or disliked country music, I encourage you to check some artists out, mainstream or classic, and maybe find a new genre you love.