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Earlier this month, country music superstar Blake Shelton came under fire for releasing his newest single “Minimum Wage.” Written by songwriters Nicolle Galyon, Corey Crowder, and Jesse Frasure, “Minimum Wage” describes how a woman’s love can uplift a man and make him feel rich even if he is barely getting by financially on “minimum wage.”

It didn’t take long for perpetually outraged Twitter trolls to denounce Shelton for insensitivity toward people struggling to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shelton’s online critics want to cancel him for being a “tone deaf” millionaire country singer and television star of the hit reality contest, “The Voice.”

Shelton revealed last week that he didn’t immediately respond to the controversy because he didn’t think it deserved a response. “With ‘Minimum Wage,’ at first I thought, ‘Wow, I guess I just, I’ve missed something here,’” Shelton said. “And the more I read into this, I realized this was really not real. Whatever this backlash is just four or five people that probably don’t know anything about country music. They clearly hadn’t heard the song or read the lyrics.”

Far from being a tone-deaf wealthy crooner, it turns out Shelton really can relate to “Minimum Wage.” Born and raised in Oklahoma, Shelton grew up in a middle-class household. After high school, he worked his way up in the music industry.

Like so many other young musicians, he struggled financially. He painted houses, worked at a music marketing and management company, and sang for demos for $40 a pop before finally signing his first record deal.

“I struggled for so long to get by,” Shelton told CMT. “But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade those times for anything. Those really were some of the best days of my life, that I still think about all the time.”

After he signed a record deal, things “really got tough.” His demo singing work, which “was the difference in making ends meet or not,” dried up. Nonetheless, Shel ton persisted. “I knew what I wanted and I just didn’t even care. I wanted to sing. And whatever I had to do to get by to be a singer, I didn’t care,” he continued. “And, luckily, the record finally came out and did what it did, and I never really had to look back since then, which is fortunate.”

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Country music is beloved for elevating and celebrating the life, joys, and struggles of the working class and small-town America. The genre is unique for its story telling, while unabashedly embracing themes like family, marriage, faith, and patriotism — all things ignored and even disdained by pop culture and urban America.

What’s missed by the social justice critics is that even people on minimum wage deserve songs that reflect their lives and aspirations. Their hourly wage should in no way diminish their capacity to feel loved, rich, or like a winner.

While established celebrity stars no longer struggle economically, many, like SheltonLuke Combs, and Toby Keith, who have achieved their American dreams, are enjoying it country style, building enviable homes on farms and ranches in their home states. It’s not hard to imagine that they spend their money the way their fans would if they suddenly found themselves wealthy. So in that way, they are totally relatable to their audience, even if they are outrageously rich.

The trolls trying to cancel Blake Shelton would never buy a property in red state America because they don’t live in or even like middle America. Besides, if you’re offended by the song “Minimum Wage,” odds are that you don’t listen to country music anyway.

Evita Duffy is an intern at The Federalist and a junior at the University of Chicago, where she studies American History. She loves the Midwest, lumberjack sports, writing, & her family. Follow her on Twitter at @evitaduffy_1

Photo Recording artist Blake Shelton performs during the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games opening ceremonies at Soldier Field in Chicago July 1, 2017. The DoD Warrior Games are an annual event allowing wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans to compete in Paralympic-style sports. (DoD photo by EJ Hersom)



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Cruz responds to pictures of him on Mexico flight, with Texas struggling from deadly winter storm

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Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz confirmed Thursday that he flew earlier this week to Mexico with family members, following the emergence of pictures appearing to show him in an airplane cabin and at a check-in counter, as fellow residents to recover from a deadly winter storm.

Cruz said in a statement that he accompanied his daughters on a flight Wednesday night to Mexico because they had the week off with school canceled.

“Wanting to be a good dad,” said Cruz, who also stated he is returning to Texas on Thursday afternoon.

The storms has been connected to at least seven deaths in Texas and knocked out power to as many as 2.5 million residents. The number of residents without electricity as of Thursday morning was down to less than 1 million, officials said.  

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“My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” Cruz also said. “We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm.”

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South Carolina House passes bill that would prohibit most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected

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The South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 79-35 to pass legislation that would prohibit most abortions. 

The bill must pass through a procedural vote in the House on Thursday prior to heading to GOP Gov. Henry McMaster who has indicated that he will sign it, according to the Associated Press. Two Republicans voted against the legislation while two Democrats voted for it. The state Senate passed the measure last month. 

The bill requires doctors to carry out an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and if a heartbeat is identified an abortion can only be performed in certain circumstances.

The legislation would not penalize a woman for obtaining an unlawful abortion, though the individual responsible for performing the abortion could face consequences.

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The outlet reported that other states have approved similar or even more stringent abortion prohibitions which could be implemented if the Supreme Court throws out the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. All of the other states’ abortion bans are currently entangled by court challenges and if the South Carolina bill is approved it will likely face litigation that prevents it from going into effect, according to the AP.

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Son of prominent conservative leader Bozell arrested in connection with Capitol siege

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Leo Brent Bozell IV, the son of conservative leader L. Brent Bozell III, is facing federal charges in connection with the Jan. 6 breech of the U.S. Capitol.

Bozell is charged with obstructing an official proceeding, entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct, according to a federal complaint unsealed Tuesday.

The official affidavit includes photos and videos that appear to show Bozell inside of the U.S. Capitol Building, including the Senate chambers.

At least one photo shows Bozell wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with a logo for a Christian school at which he once coached girls basketball, according to the Huffington Post.

The FBI obtained a photo of him posing with a student of a school, in Hershey, Pa.

His father founder, who founded the Media Research Center and other conservative groups, has condemned the riots, saying, “You can never countenance police being attacked. You cannot countenance our national capitol being breached like this. … I think it is absolutely wrong,” according to NewsBusters.

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