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Beyoncé Shatters Country Music Scene with ‘Cowboy Carter’ Album

“Genres are a funny little concept, aren’t they?” – Linda Martell
Beyoncé’s ‘Cowboy Carter’ Album Cover

On March 29th, Beyoncé released her anticipated ‘ Act II: Cowboy Carter’ album that has left many starstruck and confused with the question of, “what genre of music does Beyoncé fall into?”  Beyoncé simply can never be defined into one genre, with examples of her vocal range within Rap, Pop, Gospel, R&B, Soul, and now Country music.

Even though Beyoncé was born and raised in Houston, Texas, she expresses the unwelcoming country music community when creating the album. She describes her deep dive into country music history and the persistent historical roots within country music and black history that are seemingly glazed over within the community. During the creation of her album within the last 5 years she has noticed the general negative ties between race and genre that still persist today in society. “On “AMERIICAN REQUIEM,” in a voice deep and earthy as Texas red dirt, the Houston native sings, “Used to say I spoke too country/And then the rejection came, said I wasn’t country enough.””

Beyoncé fully embraces the criticism of being a black woman within a predominately white-male genre by featuring not very household names of black women within the country genre such as Linda Martell, Tiera Kennedy, Reyna Roberts, Brittney Spencer, and Tanner Adell. If you don’t know many or any of these women, it further proves Beyoncé’s concerns surrounding the unwelcoming ties between race, culture, and music genre.

This album is so much more than just your stereotypical country album though, the story Beyoncé portrays hints of innocence being stripped away from her at a young age in the rise of fame, her bond and connection with her husband and children, and her upbringing between blues and country.

To no surprise, Beyoncé has taken the world by storm once again and is the first black woman in history with the number one single on the Hot Country Songs chart. Beyond the homage to black women featured in the album, other notable features are in the album such as Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus, Post Malone, Shaboozey, Willie Nelson, and Willie Jones. Beyoncé includes her rendition of Dolly Parton’s famous single ‘Jolene’,  The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’, and whispers of Fleetwood Mac, making this piece truly something special to all music enjoyers alike.

Beyoncé winning Innovator Award at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on April 1st, 2024

The notable hate for Beyoncé’s country music affiliation began with her performance alongside the Dixie Chicks at the CMA Awards (Country Music Association Awards) back in 2016, where viewers and even famous country singers were outraged with her liberal-leaning politics and lack of “country cred”. Beyoncé received lots of downright racist comments from country music listeners, with some country music radio DJs refusing fan requests of Beyoncé’s songs and even actor John Schneider comparing her entrance into the genre to a “dog marking its territory”. On April 1st, Beyoncé struck back at the criticism by telling the audience at the iHeartRadio Music Awards that the music industry needs to become “more open to the joy and liberation that comes from enjoying art with no preconceived notions.” She then went on to win an Innovator Award from Stevie Wonder later that night.

Beyond the hate, criticism, and even support, Beyoncé stands firm on her beliefs and viewpoints revolving around her new album and will not back down. She states, “This ain’t a country album, this is a Beyoncé album.”, highlighting the complexities behind the whole album itself, never defined by a single genre.

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About the Contributor
Brookelle Barnes
Brookelle Barnes, Editor/Reporter
She/Her, Class of 2024 aspiring school/guidance counselor, 2-year journalist wanting to share deeper meaning(s) on topics throughout my writings and reports.

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