Me and Dolly Parton
Fatima Alerou for Country Music News International
When people hear Dolly Parton, they think about blonde hair, big boobs, and a country music icon. Dolly Parton has been fairly active for more than 60 years. She has appeared in movies and TV series; furthermore, she has created widely known songs like, “Jolene,” “I Will Always Love You,” “Dumb Blonde,” and many more. She is a woman that is successful, and she does so by staying out of the spotlight. I know many things about Dolly Parton, and it has rarely been negative. I discovered Dolly at a very young age, when I was in high school. My dad let me listen to “I will Always Love you,” and I thought she was the one copying Whitney Houston. He was the one that taught me that Dolly was the original writer and singer of that song. I was shocked, to say the least.
I started deeply indulging in her music back in 2018, early 2019. I started driving for Lyft as an extra income in college. My part-time job wasn’t cutting it, but I couldn’t deal with having two jobs. Lyft seemed to be the best option at the time. While driving, I had to think of what to play for my passengers. The radio had too many commercials, so it was out of the question. My own music taste was too diverse. Time and time again, it felt difficult to find the right balance. Then, I realized that someone could be the solution. It was someone that I loved as a musical artist, who others loved, and who had a large catalogue of music. The answer was simple: Dolly Parton.
The more I drove around, especially when I was alone, the love I once had for her grew tenfold. It didn’t matter that I’m a black girl, from a foreign country at that. It didn’t matter that I was 21 years old. All that mattered was Dolly’s voice, lyrics, and music. I would play a song like “Dumb blonde,” and I would sing every word off the top of my lungs, as if I was the person who wrote it. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t white, blonde, or dumb. That’s the beauty of her music, it speaks to you, even if it may not even be about you. Dolly Parton doesn’t have a limit or a boundary; she makes good music for everyone and anyone.
There’s a level of relation that I don’t think I can have with every artist. In her song “Coats of Many Colors,” she explores her childhood. Although she was poor, she never considered herself as such. I think out of her many songs and lyrics, that specific song has always stuck with me. Hearing someone be grateful for a family, even when others think they have nothing is rather inspirational. We can all learn a little something from Dolly Parton; we can all learn how to be humane, present, and humble.