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Here She Comes Again: The Dolly Parton Renaissance

Published on February 19, 2020, at 4:33 p.m.
by Hannah Taylor.

Dolly Parton is no “Dumb Blonde.” The living country legend has been making waves in the music world since 1967, but in 2020 she’s just as relevant as ever. At the end of last year, her career was the subject of a hit podcast, “Dolly Parton’s America,” and her 2019 collaboration with DJ duo Galantis, “Faith,” has over 23 million streams to date. But the “9 to 5” singer is more than just a music icon; with her heaven-high platinum hair, self-assured Southern sass and nails out to there, Dolly Parton is a powerhouse brand with multigenerational appeal.

The face that launched a thousand memes

Courtesy of Oprah Magazine

Unless you were living under a proverbial rock last month, you probably noticed the deluge of “LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Tinder” memes flooding social media. The inspiration behind this craze that celebrities couldn’t get enough of? None other than Dolly Parton. Deemed by The New York Times as the “saucy grandmother of social media,” Parton is quick to engage with fans and other singers on Twitter and Instagram.

Pulling on America’s heartstrings

Dolly Parton fans around the world rejoiced when Netflix released “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings,” an eight-part anthology series; each episode explores the story and inspiration behind a hit song from her repertoire. The emotional and visual retelling offers Parton admirers the chance to strengthen their connections with the queen of country music. While this soapy drama isn’t for everyone — Hallmark haters might want to refrain from watching — it most certainly appeals to the sentimental, softer half of the Dollyverse demographic.

Do you speak Dolly?

Courtesy of Dolly Parton’s Instagram

If there’s one thing Dolly Parton is good at — besides singing, songwriting and performing, but I digress — it’s building relationships with her fans by being her bold, loud and proud self. This unapologetic attitude has translated to a myriad of words to live by: axioms of advice commonly referred to as “Dolly-isms.” In January she announced a partnership with American Greetings; your favorite Dolly Parton quote will be coming soon to a stationery store near you.

With Parton’s resurgence of popularity spurred on by a newfound fanbase in younger generations, it would be hard to argue the fact that she’ll be around for many years to come. So, how does she manage to stay relevant and loved in a time where public opinion changes with the wind? One of my favorite Dolly-isms offers a little bit of insight into her secret for enduring success: “Find out who you are, and do it on purpose.”

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