Dolly Parton tells Tennessee lawmakers to stop trying to build a statue of her

Dolly Parton on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.


Country music icon Dolly Parton said Thursday she has asked Tennessee legislators to pull their bill to erect a statue of her on the state’s capitol grounds in Nashville.

“Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time,” Parton said on Twitter.

Parton, 75, added that she’s open to being honored with a statue in Music City “somewhere down the road several years from now or perhaps after I’m gone if you still feel I deserve it.”

“In the meantime, I’ll continue to try to do good work to make this great state proud,” her statement said.

A life-size statue of the nine-time Grammy winner already stands on display in Sevierville, Tennessee, which is Parton’s hometown.

Statues in recent years have been at the center of volatile and divisive political debates about which Americans ought to be honored in the public square, and whether statues of figures with racist or otherwise controversial pasts should be torn down.

But the bill to immortalize Parton in Nashville, proposed by Democratic State Rep. John Mark Windle, received broad bipartisan support from the heavily Republican-leaning Tennessee General Assembly.

Windle in a recent interview with the Chattanooga Times Free Press said he was “shocked” by the response his bill generated.

Tennesseans “love Dolly Parton, not just because she’s a great musician,” Windle said. “She’s a caring, compassionate and just a decent person. She takes care of her community, she takes care of her state. And she does it selflessly.”

Parton has a strong history of philanthropy in the state and beyond. Her “Imagination Library” program, started in 1995, mails free books to children every month.

After the 2016 Tennessee wildfires destroyed numerous homes, Parton pledged to donate $1,000 a month to each family left without a place to live for six months.

Last April, Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to aid in its efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including Moderna’s vaccine trial.

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