Beyonce meets country: Texas Hold ‘Em threw the world into a whirlwind of controversy

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"Not only were Beyonce fans outraged, but social media users at large, which sparked an entirely new conversation and controversy about what exactly classifies a song as “country music." - Arts & Entertainment Editor / Al Harmon.

The year 2024 so far has been treating the country’s newest upcoming artists particularly well, but Beyonce, one of music’s biggest mega-stars, has officially entered the country music scene and did not do it silently. From the time between her release date (February 11) through now, Beyonce’s new single “Texas Hold ‘Em” has already reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and she continues to hold her top spot. Now, she owns the title of being the first ever Black woman artist to reach the top of the country charts. 

As a person who’s not the biggest country music fan, I have never stopped so quickly for a new country song like I did for Texas Hold ‘Em. But as a long-time Beyonce fan, I couldn’t help but also appreciate her going out of her usual music style and returning to those Texan roots. To me, this song screams country, down to every strum, every shake of the tambourine, and every harmony. 

While this genre is new to hear from Beyonce, it does not drown the sound that she’s meticulously crafted over the years. I’d also like to note that the mix of that gritty country sound and Beyonce’s grasp on her musical vision was also tied with an extremely catchy bow, now stuck on repeat in the minds of anyone who even hears the tune (most definitely including me). 

To some surprise, this isn’t Beyonce’s first rodeo in the country music realm. Before the release of her two latest songs (Texas Hold ‘Em & 16 Carriages), her first country song “Daddy Lessons” was featured on her 2016 R&B album “Lemonade,” a whopping 8 years ago. 

However, the song has yet to be received so graciously by many country music lovers. Particularly, one country music station in Oklahoma (100.1 KYKC) refused to play the hit song. The station shared a statement on Twitter which read “We do not play Beyonce on KYKC as we are a country music station.” Many comments under the tweet claimed that this decision was “blatantly racist” and “discriminatory.” 

Not only were Beyonce fans outraged, but social media users at large, which sparked an entirely new conversation and controversy about what exactly classifies a song as “country music”. 

Finally, the station responded to the nationwide criticism, giving in to the millions of comments which ridiculed them. The station shared later on, “Based on the fan support, we decided to air it, though normally we would typically wait a while to see how the song performs on bigger country station charts.”

Regardless of Beyonce’s great success so far within the country music industry, I don’t think her success will mean grand acceptance for her within the genre. Beyonce’s brand strays so intensely from the typical country artist brand. However, maybe this could mean a new and personalized style of country music. Not only for Beyonce but for country artists as a whole. 

I have a good feeling this song is going to be the start of a whole new creative competition within the music industry, and I truthfully cannot wait to see how inspiration will flow into other artists through this unarguably historical event in music history. 

For comments/questions about this story DM us on Instagram @thewhitatrowan or email the.whit.arts@gmail.com.

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