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Beyonce at the 2021 Grammy Awards
Beyonce at the 2021 Grammy Awards
Photo by Cliff Lipson / CBS
Culture > Entertainment

Beyonce’s Album “Cowboy Carter” is Petty Genius

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ECSU chapter.

I’ve never considered myself a Beyonce fan, but her new album might change that. On March 29th, she dropped her album, “Cowboy Carter”. Beyonce is known to have meaning behind everything she does in her music; after dissecting the meaning behind her recent album for other articles, I have a newfound respect for the artist. Her move with this recent album should go down in history as one of the pettiest, yet most iconic, moves in music.

Before the release, on Instagram, the singer shared that this album has been a work in progress for the past five years. During the 2016 Country Music Awards, Beyonce did a guest performance with The Dixie Chicks for the 50th anniversary. With Beyonce leaning into the Black Lives Matter movement and The Chicks being openly political, many were upset about the performance. Artist Alan Jackson even walked out during the performance. While many Beyonce and Dixie Chicks fans loved the performance, there was a spew of hate comments and backlash that came towards the two. They started as angry and political, which turned into blatant racism. The CMAs took down posts related to the performance claiming it was at the request of Beyonce and her team.

In the post about the album Beyonce said, “The criticisms I faced when I first entered this genre forced me to propel past the limitations that were put on me.” And this brings us to present-day “Cowboy Carter”. Beyonce’s album featured several artists, some are highly established like Dolly Parton, but many of them were smaller and independent black artists in the country genre. These artists included Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy, Reyna Roberts, Tiera Kennedy, Reyna Roberts, Shaboozy, and Willie Jones. She also featured samples from Linda Martell.

Although a majority of the country music genre in America is rooted in Black Americans and influences from the Hispanic diaspora, the genre is dominated by white artists. I should also acknowledge that pretty much every genre of music has songs that combine the influences of other genres, yet constantly we see (especially Black) artists attempting to be pushed out of the genre claiming that the music is too different to be country. One example we saw this with was Little Nas X’s “Old Time Road.” Most of us would agree that the song was a combination of country music and hip hop, yet he had major pushback saying his song couldn’t be classified as country. We saw this pattern with Tanner Adell, one of the artists included in the album. Her song “Buckle Bunny” began to go viral before her collaboration. Although she is a country artist she was criticized for her combination of genres and glamorous persona wasn’t real country. This is where the genius of this album comes in.

No matter how you feel about the artist, the way Beyonce was treated after the 2016 CMAs was wrong. Many in the country music genre have tried to gatekeep a specific sound and let’s be honest, look, within the genre. But because Beyonce is Beyonce,  they could not gatekeep her from the community like they do with many other artists. Beyonce has gotten to the point where any album she puts out will top the charts regardless of the genre. By including eight other Black country artists, she brought them onto the country chart with her so they couldn’t be dismissed the way that she was at the 2016 CMAs. And it worked, Adell alone went from 709,358 monthly listeners (March 27) on Spotify to 5.53 million as of April 2, just days after the album was released.

In an attempt to push her and other black artists out of the country genre, the CMAs motivated Beyonce to come back stronger than ever, top the charts in the genre, and take other Black artists with her. Not only is the album beautiful as an art form and social commentary, but it’s a level of calculated pettiness that I honestly find inspiring.

My name is Stacey Addo and I'm the Campus Correspondent for HC at ECSU. I'm a senior at ECSU majoring in Communications. I oversee the chapter and love writing about beauty, entertainment, fashion, and culture. Outside of Her Campus, I am the Arts and Entertainment editor for the campus lantern, cohost a radio show on campus, and am a part of Eastern Television. I've previously written for College Fashionistas about fashion and small businesses. Over the summer I was an intern for CT Public Radio as a radio talk show intern where I was able to produce episodes for multiple talk shows. Currently I'm a partner for HCxUlta writing articles about hair care. In my spare time I love fashion, watching reality shows and baking. In my free time I love to read and watch mysteries and my current favorite is Only Murders In the Building on Hulu. I also love to crochet!