The artist revealed in an incredible Verizon commercial that she’s going to be dropping Act II — and immediately went on to release two new songs: “Texas Hold ’Em” and “16 Carriages.”
Now, if you’re a fan of Beyoncé's, you’ll know that this isn’t her first rodeo when it comes to producing country music.
On her 2016 album, Lemonade, Beyoncé, who is from Houston, embraced her Southern roots in her track “Daddy Lessons” — a poignant country song about her dad, Mathew Knowles.
Later in 2016, fans were surprised when they learned that “Daddy Lessons” hadn’t been nominated in any of the country music categories at the Grammys that year, with an anonymous insider later revealing to the Associated Press that while Beyoncé had submitted the single, it had been rejected by the country music committee — meaning that it was snubbed for a potential Best Country Song or Best Country Solo Performance nomination.
“So Beyoncé is really out here reclaiming genres originally rooted in Black music. First house, now country, and then rock & roll (rumored) next,” one person said, referring to unverified rumors that Act III will be a rock 'n' roll album. “Act 3 is going to be Rock and Roll. She’s claiming all the music that was once created by Black artist,” someone else guessed.
However, fans quickly found themselves defending Beyoncé after a popular tweet shared by Variety noticeably avoided referring to her latest songs as “country music” — something that, sadly, several people had anticipated.
Variety tweeted that Beyoncé’s latest releases have “strong country influences,” prompting a heap of backlash, with many fans questioning why they hadn’t just referred to the songs as country. One person replied, “This is a microaggression. Those songs are clearly country, not ‘country influenced.’ Black people BIRTHED country music. Put some respect on it.” While someone else said, “calling it influence is just disrespectful to her southern roots. she has always been a country gworl.. give her the flowers she deserves.”
In March 2019, Billboard attracted scrutiny after removing Lil Nas X’s song “Old Town Road” from the Hot Country Songs charts, reportedly informing him that they’d featured him on the list by “mistake.”
Billboard also said in a statement that it felt “Old Town Road” did not “merit inclusion” on its country charts. It wrote, “When determining genres, a few factors are examined, but first and foremost is musical composition. While ‘Old Town Road’ incorporates references to country and cowboy imagery, it does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”
The move sparked widespread backlash from fans and artists alike, with rapper Ski Mask the Slump God accusing Billboard of “discrimination.”
Looking back on this moment now, several people noted that Variety’s controversial tweet reminded them of the drama with Lil Nas X.
“This is reminiscent of Billboard blocking Lil Nas from the country chart. Also when the grammy select committee blocked Daddy Lessons from the ballot,” one tweet read. “They gonna do to Beyonce the same thing they did to Lil Nas X with Old Town Road. It’s finna be called everything but country music,” another person tweeted.
“Taylor [Swift] was still qualifying for country awards well into her pop era, they bet not act like Beyoncé’s country songs aren’t real country like they did with Old Town Road,” one person tweeted. “Now @billboard - make sure Beyonce ‘qualifies’ for the country charts. We don’t want another Old Town Road situation,” another user said.