Dolly Parton is asking Tennessee legislators to not erect a statue of her on state Capitol grounds “at this time.”
The country music icon said Thursday that she was “honored and humbled” by the gesture to pay homage to her legacy, but that she did not believe it was the right time for such a gesture.
“Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time,” she wrote in a statement. “I hope, though, that somewhere down the road several years from now or perhaps after I’m gone if you still feel I deserve it, then I’m certain I will stand proud in our great State Capitol as a grateful Tennessean.”
Tennessee state Rep. John Mark Windle (D) introduced a bill earlier this year that called for a statue honoring Parton to be erected in Nashville. The statue would not have been paid for by taxpayers, but would have been funded by gifts, grants and other donations.
More than 25,000 people had signed a Change.org petition calling for the likeness of Parton, a “true Tennessee hero,” to replace the Confederate statues being torn down around the state.
“Aside from her beautiful music, which has touched the hearts and lives of millions of Americans, Dolly Parton’s philanthropic heart has unquestionably changed the world for the better,” reads the petition. “From the Dollywood foundation that has provided books and scholarships to millions of American children, to the millions of dollars she has donated to dozens of organizations such as the Red Cross and COVID-19 research centers, Dolly Parton has given more to this country and this state than those confederate officers could ever have hoped to take away.”
Parton turning down an honor is perhaps not surprising. She told “Today” earlier this month that she had turned down former President Donald Trump when he tried to award her the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice.
“I couldn’t accept it because my husband was ill and then they asked me again about it and I wouldn’t travel because of the COVID,” she said, adding that President Joe Biden has since inquired about giving her the award. “Now I feel like if I take it, I’ll be doing politics, so I’m not sure.”
“I don’t work for those awards,” she said. “It’d be nice, but I’m not sure that I even deserve it. But it’s a nice compliment for people to think that I might deserve it.”