Only Dolly Parton can say for sure if there was any “laughing and drinking and having a party” wherever she was on Thursday night, but the country music queen is certainly entitled to celebrate. She is not only the most successful female artist in country music, with songs that resonate comfort through more than five decades to these sheltered times; but also, Dolly Parton is making her distinctive imprint on the television world.
As MSN Entertainment noted on July 31, the GLAAD Media Awards were presented on Thursday, with a star-studded lineup of presenters. The virtual honors didn’t detract from the surprise or delight in the eyes of Dolly Parton. After earning almost every conceivable honor, the one-woman dynamo of entertainment was thrilled to be noticed for her Netflix series, “Heartstrings,” and a very special episode about love, acceptance, and family.
An Emmy nomination and a GLAAD award come in the same week for Dolly Parton
“Heartstrings” is pulling at the hearts of fans and critics alike. The series features the talents of Julianne Hough, Ginnifer Goodwin, and countless other screen talents in stories written around the themes of eight Dolly Parton songs. On July 29, news came that the series got an Emmy nomination.
“I love to paint pictures, you know, in my songs,” Dolly explains. Her songs also conjure characters that everyone recognizes and can never forget. “Jolene” is another of the episodes that feature a heavy dose of Dolly Parton herself, and “Two Doors Down” is the other.
Tyler and Cole are at the center of the story. The two come home for Tyler’s sister’s wedding, and very early in the story, viewers learn that they are a couple, but Tyler still has to broach the relationship to his very conservative Southern family. Music is a tie that binds, and ultimately, brings healing for the family, including a Dolly Parton mini-concert.
“Two Doors Down” won its GLAAD award for Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBTQ character). The episode was the last in the series.
Acceptance, kindness, and finding the divine light are strong virtues in Dolly Parton
Sadly, some of the audience in a preseason screening at Dollywood walked out when the revelations of “Two Doors Down” came to light early in the episode last year. The loss was theirs because Dolly Parton specifically directed that she wanted a “Heartstrings” episode with a focus on LGBTQ characters. She left it to Mark B. Perry, the episode’s gifted screenwriter, to craft the story with the perfect tone for family enjoyment.
Anyone who has ever savored a Dolly Parton song feels the welcome and acceptance through every lyric. Fans who go to see Dolly in concert see those who look like neighbors and those who do not, singing, swaying, and reciting every chorus back to the country icon. Dolly loves every person. She famously describes “looking for the God-light” within everyone she meets, and that light’s glow is not defined by race, gender, heritage, or disability. It is there from conception.
Dolly Parton and another good friend, Nina West, a.k.a. Andrew Levitt, the host of the popular Dragcast podcast, have collaborated on a new campaign, “Kindness Is Queen,” launched in June. A line of personally-curated accessories by the “divas” will benefit both the Dolly Parton Imagination Library literacy initiative and the Nina West Foundation.
The Imagination Library mails high-quality books to children directly, until first grade, ensuring literature in every home. Over 1 million books have been sent across the globe through the initiative that Dolly Parton dedicated to her father. The Nina West Foundation supports multiple organizations that benefit LGBTQ youth and families.
‘Heartstrings’ has every reason to return
Lil’ Nas X might have been inspired by the “Two Doors Down” episode and Dolly Parton before accepting his GLAAD Media Award as an Outstanding Music Artist. His wide-brimmed hat and fashion ensemble, all in layers of sheer white lace and fringe, looked perfectly fitting for a wedding and is understandable excitement.
No official notice is out about the next season of “Heartstrings,” but with a vast catalog of songs from the artist, and the heart, imagination, and talent of Dolly Parton, not to mention the shiny new trophies, there is nothing to stop another season of “Heartstrings.”