FEB 16, 2024







courtesy various

As thousands of Capital F Football fans storm onto Twitter (sorry–X) to complain about Taylor Swift’s 54 seconds of Super Bowl screentime, and countless others are dancing along to Usher’s half-time show with boneless wings and nachos in hand, arguably the music moment of the night was Beyoncé’s not-so-small attempt to “break the internet” via a Verizon ad. One of the biggest names in pop music right now is taking a bit of a left turn, bridging into the country realm on the newly announced 8th studio album, Renaissance Act II. Her most recent singles, “Texas! Hold ’em” and “16 Carriages”, are soulful odes to the legacy genre and what’s to come for the Houston hitmaker. Country as a genre has never been a stranger to its polarizing nature, having a way of getting listeners snapping along and zig-zagging in clunky cowboy boots before looking up a singer and finding out their unfortunate political beliefs—being a Confederate sympathizer. The issue at hand, which makes many listeners shy away from the genre, is not the music itself, but rather what it has come to represent. But as Time Magazine’s Taylor Crumpton has so poetically put it, “The greatest lie country music ever told was convincing the world that it is white.” There’s a lot to uncover when it comes to why, and how the country music industry has become so outwardly (and shallowly) white and/or conservative, which is far removed from the roots of the music itself. Black country music is nothing new, and this isn’t Beyoncé’s first rodeo either. Before she comes fully into the scene and takes over, let’s unpack that. 

Beyoncé, “16 Carriages” (Official Visualizer)

“The greatest lie country music ever told was convincing the world that it is white.”

–Taylor Crumpton, Time Magazine–