Dolly Parton vs. Tyler, the Creator: Clash of the Jeni’s Collaborators

Comparing the Columbus artisan ice cream company’s musical muses

Erin Edwards
Columbus Monthly
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams recently broke the internet thanks to its collaboration ice cream with country music icon and philanthropist Dolly Parton. This isn’t the first time Jeni’s has teamed up with a musical artist. In 2019 and again in 2020, the local ice cream queen joined forces with Tyler, the Creator, a California-based rapper, fashion icon and producer. Get to know the two ice cream muses. 

Dolly Parton 

Born: Dolly Rebecca Parton on Jan. 19, 1946, in Pittman Center, Tennessee 

Jeni’s flavor: Strawberry Pretzel Pie was inspired by the Southern pie popular at church potlucks. 

Grammy haul: In 1978, Parton won Best Country Vocal Performance (Female) for “Here You Come Again.” Parton has 50 Grammy nominations and 10 wins. 

Nominees Dolly Parton, left, and Porter Wagoner enjoy their dinner for the 13th annual Grammy Awards during the Nashville NARAS banquet at the Municipal Auditorium March 16, 1971. The Grammy was also held in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, all which was telecast live on ABC-TV.

Inspiration: Parton has said over the years that her over-the-top look is based on her hometown’s trollop, whom she found beautiful. 

Acting chops: Parton has starred in several films, including “Nine to Five,” “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and “Steel Magnolias.” 

Love triangle: Parton’s 1974 hit song “Jolene” was inspired by a flirtation between Parton’s husband, Carl, and a red-headed bank teller. 

Extracurriculars: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library gives free books to children from birth to age 5. Last year, the nonprofit had given its 150 millionth book. In addition, Parton is part owner of the Dollywood theme park, one of the largest employers in East Tennessee. 

Fashion one-liner: “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.” 

More:Columbus Monthly’s Best of Columbus 2021

Tyler, the Creator 

Born: Tyler Gregory Okonma on March 6, 1991, in Ladera Heights, California 

Jeni’s flavors: Snowflake featured cool peppermint, spearmint and flakes of white chocolate, while Pluto Bleu was described by Jeni’s as a blue raspberry slushie swirled together with orange Push Pop that you drink “out of a pineapple, in the shade, under a palm tree.” 

Grammy haul: Forty-two years after Dolly’s first Grammy win, Tyler’s Igor won Best Rap Album in 2020. He has three Grammy nominations and one win. 

Inspiration: Pharrell Williams, whom Tyler thanked upon accepting his first Grammy award 

Acting chops: Tyler appeared on The Mindy Project and Kidding, a comedy-drama series that was set in Columbus. 

Love triangle: Igor follows the theme of a love triangle between Tyler (and his alter ego, Igor), his male love interest and the woman he won’t leave. 

Extracurriculars: Tyler is an avid skateboarder. In 2011, he launched his own streetwear fashion line, Golf Wang, followed by a Golf Wang clothing store in Los Angeles in 2017, complete with a skateboarding bowl. 

Fashion one-liner: “The devil doesn’t wear Prada; I’m clearly in a … white tee.”—from the title track off his debut studio album, Goblin.