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  • Writer's pictureAuthor T.D. McLaughlin Talks

Beyonce and Country Music

Last weekend, during America's annual biggest televison event, The Super Bowl, the queen of pop, Beyoncé Knowles Carter, made a surprising announcement in a Verizon commercial – that she was releasing new music. This revelation sent the world scrambling to their favorite streaming services (myself included) to uncover the sonic creation she had unleashed upon us. However, observing the titles and about two minutes of listening, it became clear that she was venturing into the genre of country.

As a devoted country music fan who prefers and appreciates Black country artists, I knew in that moment that Beyoncé's entrance would inevitably change the landscape of the genre. Yet, the two tracks she released did not feel authentically country; rather, they seemed like pop music cosplaying as country. While I admire Beyoncé's boldness in challenging herself to conquer another genre, I also recognize that her entrance should not obscure the contributions of existing Black country artists. Indeed, Black artists have long been a vital part of the country music scene. From legends like Charley Pride or Aaron Neville to contemporary stars like Darius Rucker, Mickey Guyton, Kane Brown, Blanco Brown, Willie Jones, and The War and Treaty, to name a few. These artists and artist like them have been producing exceptional music for years, often without receiving the recognition they deserve from mainstream Black America or the culture as a whole.

Beyoncé's foray into country music will serve as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on these talented artists and showcase the soulfulness and richness of the sub-genre as a whole. However, there are concerns that her entrance may inadvertently overshadow or marginalize those who have been working tirelessly within the genre for years. There is a fear that Beyoncé's immense fame and influence could replicate the dynamics of a big chain store entering a small town, shutting down local businesses that cannot compete with the an industry behemoth's resources, budget, and promotion. Historically, industry behemoths tend to take resources and attention without giving back to the communities they enter.

While one should not presume Beyoncé's intentions, recent public comments from her husband about her perceived lack of recognition in certain award categories, coupled with her track record of rightfully or unrightfully destroying perceived competition, raise concerns about the potential impact of her entry into the country music space and sub-genre of Black Country music. Beyoncé's venture into country music has the potential to bring newfound attention to the genre and its Black artists. However, it is crucial that her entrance not overshadow or diminish the contributions of those who have organically been part of the black country music culture.

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1 comentário

20 de fev.

Very well spoken. That’s is my biggest concern that the black country music greats do not get overshadowed by the “Beyonce Effect”. I listened to her debuts and it didn’t move me. But that is my own opinion. We have the newer generation talents such as Mickey Guyton, The War and Treaty, and Brittany Spencer just to name a few, who are outstanding voices to be recognized. In addition, K. Michelle who is trying to make her mark and hasn’t in my opinion been embraced with her breakout country album. Just my thoughts.

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