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NEW YORK, Feb 19 — After thousands of people voiced support for proposed legislation that would immortalise Dolly Parton with a statue on the Capitol grounds of her home state Tennessee, the American icon has — at least for now — graciously declined.
“I am honoured and humbled by their intention but I have asked the leaders of the state legislature to remove the bill from any and all consideration,” Parton posted on social media.
“Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time,” the 75-year-old said.
“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.”
Long a staunch advocate for keeping politics out of her public persona, Parton’s announcement comes after the veteran country superstar said she twice turned down a Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump.
The writer of classics including I Will Always Love You and 9 to 5 said she also heard from Biden about one of the nation’s top honours: “I don’t work for those awards,” she said.
A Tennessee state representative last month introduced a bill to erect a statue in Parton’s likeness at the statehouse grounds in Nashville.
More than 25,000 people signed an online petition to replace controversial statues of Confederate officers with Parton, calling her a “true Tennessee hero.”
The petition urged lawmakers to “replace the statues of men who sought to tear this country apart with a monument to the woman who has worked her entire life to bring us closer together.”
Revered by people from a variety of backgrounds for decades, Parton, a longtime philanthropist, has been popping up in the news of late, especially after donating US$1 million (RM4.04 million) to Vanderbilt University.
The funds went towards developing Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine.
A child of Appalachia who grew up in poverty, in 2016 Parton also raised US$9 million for Tennessee wildlife relief. — AFP