Is Toby Keith canceled? Chip Roy uses country star's 'Beer for my Horses' lyrics to glorify lynchings

Rep. Chip Roy used the lyrics from one of Toby Keith's songs to glorify lynchings and social media is not at all amused with the lyrics that the country singer wrote in the early 2000s


                            Is Toby Keith canceled? Chip Roy uses country star's 'Beer for my Horses' lyrics to glorify lynchings
Singer/Songwriter Toby Keith performs during Country Thunder Music Festival Arizona - Day 3 on April 7, 2018 in Florence, Arizona (Getty Images)

Country musician Toby Keith is facing a lot of backlash from social media users after Rep. Chip Roy used his lyrics to glorify lynchings during a House Judiciary Committee hearing about the drastic spike in discrimination and violence against Asian Americans in recent years.

While giving a speech at the hearing, Roy said that the victims of the “race-based violence and their families deserve justice.” Apart from that, he also claimed that the hearing was venturing “away from the rule of law and taking out bad guys.” However, the controversy erupted when he used a line from one of Keith’s songs to suggest that lynchings were the way to go.

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He said, “There are old sayings in Texas about ‘Find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree. You know, we take justice very seriously. And we ought to do that. Round up the bad guys. That’s what we believe.”

The clip spread like a wildfire on social media and a plethora of users called out Keith for using inappropriate lyrics that glorify lynchings. The lyric has been taken from a song named ‘Beer For My Horse’, which Keith released in 2002.

Before going into the specifics about the entire controversy, let’s take a look at the life and career of the country musician.

 



 

 

Who is Toby Keith?

Toby Keith is an accomplished country singer-songwriter who started his professional singing career in 1993 with the song ‘Should’ve been a Cowboy’. The song turned out to be a massive success for the singer and went to number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. By the end of the decade, the song received more than three million spins on radio, thus making it the most-played country song of the 1990s.

In 2002, the song ‘Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)’ made him a household and took his popularity to a whole new level.  The song, ‘Beer For My Horse’, released in 2003 and became a hit. The track went on to receive the Video of the Year award at the Academy of Country Music Awards.

 

Musician Toby Keith poses with the Artist of the Decade award in the press room at the American Country Awards 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 5, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Getty Images)

Keith had a public feud with the Dixie Chicks over the song ‘Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue’, in 2002, as well as over comments they made about President George W. Bush on stage during a concert in London, in March 2003. The lead singer of Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, said that the song was “ignorant” and made the country music sound ignorant as well. Keith responded in a rather bizarre way and started displaying a doctored photo of Maines with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during his concerts.

In 2009, actor Ethan Hawke referred to a confrontation Kris Kristofferson had with an unnamed country musician back in 2003. The article claimed that Hawke was present there when the incident happened at the Beacon Theatre in New York. Interestingly, the article does not name Keith but says it was a country singer who had a highly-popular song about retribution for the 9/11 attacks.

(L-R) Kris Kristofferson, creator of Skyville Live Wally Wilson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Waylon Payne, and Toby Keith attend Skyville Live Presents a Tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis on August 24, 2017, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Getty Images)

Hawke also claimed that the entire conversation ended with Kristofferson saying that guys like him (Keith) are taking country music six feet under the ground and described him as someone who is ruining the country music. He said, “They are doing to country music what pantyhose did to finger-(explicit).”

Why did the controversy erupt?

The controversy erupted on social media because the lines used by Roy at the hearing seemed to advocate lynchings. The lyrics to Keith’s The song, which was a collaboration with Willie Nelson, include the following lines: “Grandpappy told my pappy back in my day, ‘Son, a man had to answer for the wicked that he did. Take all the rope in Texas, find a tall oak tree, round up all the bad boys, hang them high in the street for all the people to see.”

People from Texas believe that the lyrics are definitely not a part of their culture and they don’t claim those words as part of their heritage. One of the users said, “Not only is this a lyric from a 2003 Toby Keith song (and not an “old saying”), Toby Keith isn’t even from Texas, he’s from Oklahoma. The song also recommends giving beer to horses. don’t do that. So we maybe shouldn’t treat the lyrics like an ancient proverb, Chip.”



 

Another user said, “There's an old Texas saying dating back hundreds of years that Toby Keith sucks.” Another user noted, “Toby Keith ruined country music. It was a genre primarily about analyzing your lot in life and cursing/appreciating that, and Keith turned it into a political machine. My dream is to see Garth Brooks and George Strait kick his ass and upload it on TikTok.”



 



 



 



 

“Toby Keith is trending so I want to remind everyone that he absolutely ruined country music,” another user added. Another user shared, “The racism in that Toby Keith song is not "hidden" in any sense of the word. It is well known as a "murder ballad." It's literally not even a good song. Like it's a really bad song from a musical perspective. Why anyone would defend it is beyond me in a deep way.”

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