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Is Beyonce’s launch into Country Music creating a new era for the genre? (OP-ED)

Country music has had a peculiar history within the United States. Despite being one of the most popular music sub-genres in the U.S., a palpable divide has kept a significant portion of the populace from taking part. Now, with Beyonce officially entering the country sphere with her latest album, Country Carter, could this be the start of a new Country era?

It certainly is a long time coming. Recent years have seen popular mainstream artists like Post Malone, Lil Nas X, and Lana Del Ray come out with country songs, leading to a rising interest in the genre from younger audiences. According to Billboard, the country saw a streaming spike of 58 percent from 2019 to 2022.

For many, Beyonce’s entry into the country music scene signifies a major step for the Black community. Beyonce isn’t the first black artist to get into Country, far from it. According to TIMES, country music has been a part of the black community since its inception. Black artists like Bailey Armstrong, Linda Martell, the Pointer Sisters, Rissi Palmer, and Rhiannon Giddens, have all made their mark on the country music industry. All of these artists have influenced other future black artists including Beyonce, who has been vocal about her love for country since her childhood thanks to her Texas background.

However, the singer never made a serious step into the genre until her 2016 performance at the 50th annual Country Music Association Awards. There, Beyonce performed “Daddy Lessons” with the Chicks. The reaction was polarizing, notable due to how tense the country was due to the presidential election.

Chicks drummer Jimmy Paxson reminisced in a Vulture  interview on the audience’s reception of the performance that night, calling it “uncomfortable.”

“I just remember going out there and people being in shock, completely blown away — and uncomfortably so. Some people just didn’t seem to like the fact that it was going on, for some stupid reason,” said Paxson. “You had people in the crowd that were either blown away and didn’t want their neighbor in the next seat to see them enjoying it or didn’t understand why we were up there.”

While some downright hated it, the performance set a fire into many artists’ hearts, no matter the background. 

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