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Beyoncé Is Going Country

Beyoncé announced a country album is on the way in a Superbowl commercial for Verizon.

Referred to as Act II, the upcoming album is the 2024 follow-up to 2022’s Renaissance, which was first revealed as Act I.

This album is not Beyoncé’s first rodeo when it comes to country music. In 2016, a song featured on Lemonade titled “Daddy Lessons” let us know that the pop queen could make a song in any genre and it would sound amazing. Since then, fans waited with bated breath for a full-length foray into country. Now, their wish is coming true.

Two of the album’s singles are out now and available to listen to via streaming platforms. First is “Texas Hold ‘Em.”

The second single out is “16 Carriages.”

While most fans are listening to the new singles via YouTube, Spotify or Apple Music, others want to hear Beyoncé on the radio station.

Beyoncé on Country Music Radio

It was reported on February 13th that Oklahoma station, KYKC, refused to play “Texas Hold ‘Em.” The station said:

“We are a small market station. We’re not in a position to break an artist or help it that much, so it has to chart a little bit higher for us to add it,” said Roger Harris, general manager of Southern Central Oklahoma Radio Enterprises. “But we love Beyoncé here. We play her on our [other top 40 and adult hits stations] but we’re not playing her on our country station yet because it just came out.”

On February 15th, the station played “Texas Hold ‘Em” in response to several requests for the song.

Fans of Lil Nas X might be getting flashbacks to the debate by those in and out of the country music world over whether or not his mega-hit, “Old Town Road,” is a country song, rap song or both.

Intentions With Act II

Back when Renaissance came out, Beyoncé released a statement on social media. In it, she discussed her intentions on making music during the pandemic:

“Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world. It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration. I hope you find joy in this music. I hope it inspires you to release the wiggle. Ha! And to feel as unique, strong, and sexy as you are.”

Although Act II was not released at the same time, it and another album, Act III, were all recorded at the same time as Renaissance. It feels safe to say Act II was made with the same love, care and intentions as Renaissance.

Though some may be surprised by the pop star making a country album, they would do well to remember she was born and raised in Houston, Texas, a certified hub of country music. It is also a hub for Black cowboys and cowgirls. This is evident by the founding of the Black Professional Cowboys and Cowgirls Association in nearby Crosby, Texas, and the Black Cowboy Museum in Rosenberg, which is less than an hour from Houston.

Beyoncé Boosts Visibility

Black country artists are shouting Beyoncé out for boosting visibility of Black country music. Nashville-based singer-songwriter Reyna Roberts said, “I hope this is going to open up some people’s eyes to country music.” She continued, “Just [with] Beyoncé releasing her music, in the past day I’ve probably gained like 12,000 fans just from people looking at Black Country music.”

She’s also getting shoutouts from professors, like Professor Alice Randall; a songwriter, author and professor of African American and diaspora studies at Vanderbilt University: “I anticipate that this album is going to take us in a direction that both refines and redefines what country is and takes country up to another level,” said Randall. “That it deconstructs and reconstructs country. That is what modern sounds in country and western do.”

Act II comes out March 29th.

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