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Beyoncé's new album is inspired by backlash to her entering the country music genre

Beyoncé performs at the Wolstein Center, Nov. 4, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. Beyoncé is full of surprises — and on March 12, 2024, she announced she is dropping a new album: Act II: Cowboy Carter.
Andrew Harnik
/
AP
Beyoncé performs at the Wolstein Center, Nov. 4, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. Beyoncé is full of surprises — and on March 12, 2024, she announced she is dropping a new album: Act II: Cowboy Carter.

Updated March 29, 2024 at 9:10 AM ET

The Queen Bey has entered the country music genre but make no mistake, this is no random sliding into the charts.

Shortly before the release of her eighth studio album Cowboy Carter on Friday, Beyoncé reflected on making the upcoming album — as she explained to fans the inspiration behind it and how exactly the piece of art came to life.

In an Instagram post earlier in March, the singer-songwriter shared a new photo of herself wearing a red, white and blue outfit sitting on a horse while holding up an American flag.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of the supporters of TEXAS HOLD 'EM and 16 CARRIAGES. I feel honored to be the first Black woman with the number one single on the Hot Country Songs chart," Beyoncé wrote.

"That would not have happened without the outpouring of support from each and every one of you. My hope is that years from now, the mention of an artist's race, as it relates to releasing genres of music, will be irrelevant," she added.

Beyoncé wrote in her long caption that she'd been working on Cowboy Carter for five years, a project that was "born out of an experience" that she had years ago where she "did not feel welcomed."

"... and it was very clear that I wasn't," she added.

While the 42-year-old did not go into detail about what experience made her feel unwelcomed, fans speculate the singer was referencing her2016 appearance at the CMA Awards when she performed her country pop song "Daddy Lessons" off her Lemonade album alongside The Chicks (formerly known as The Dixie Chicks).

Although the crowd reacted positively to the performance, Beyoncé herself received racist backlash from some country fans who criticized the CMA's decision to let her perform, HuffPost reported.

"This ain't a Country album. This is a 'Beyoncé album"

"But, because of that experience, I did a deeper dive into the history of Country music and studied our rich musical archive," the singer said, adding how music can play an important role in the world.

"This ain't a Country album. This is a 'Beyoncé album," she concluded.

Act II: Cowboy Carter is the 32-time Grammy award-winner's second installment of her three-act project following her 2022 dance album Act I: Renaissance.

Her single, "Texas Hold 'Em" — which was released alongside "16 Carriages" on Feb. 11 during the Super Bowl — debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, the publication said.

Beyoncé became the only other solo woman alongside Taylor Swift to achieve the feat with no accompanying artists, according to Billboard. Additionally, "16 Carriages," debuted at No. 9 on the Hot Country Songs chart and No. 38 on the Hot 100 chart.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jonathan Franklin
Jonathan Franklin is a reporter on the Newsdesk covering both race & identity and breaking news.