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Beyoncé drops new album with song that suggests genre is racist

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This article was originally published at StateOfUnion.org. Publications approved for syndication have permission to republish this article, such as Microsoft News, Yahoo News, Newsbreak, UltimateNewswire and others. To learn more about syndication opportunities, visit About Us.

Media outlets have debated whether Beyoncé’s upcoming country-tinged album could succeed given tensions over representation of Black artists in country music.

Some articles claimed the genre has systematically excluded Black musicians and that her album’s reception could highlight issues of racism.

Others argued country’s origins are Black and she has the power to challenge the genre’s “racialized past.”

According to a Variety report, “Whatever happens, or doesn’t, is likely to create waves, given the star’s status as certainly one of the two or three biggest music luminaries in the world, moving toward a format that has proven famously resistant to making its homegrown Black women into stars.”

“If Beyonce doesn’t get big (or any) play at country, will it be a sign of entrenched racism? Or just a sign of country radio doing what country radio always does — move slowly and cautiously, that is, while waiting for cues from a powerful record company? Nervousness about how these questions might play out amid nearly all-White-male playlists is understandable,” the outlet continued.

Charles Hughes, the director of the Lynne and Henry Turley Memphis Center at Rhodes College said, “country radio has systematically excluded artists of color.”

“Maybe that power will create an expanded space for all these great Black women making country music…to make it more in line with the people who love country music and the country it’s supposed to represent,” he continued.

A Time article claimed, “It is time for the institutional oppressive regimes of country music to be removed, and for those who have continued to carry on the legacy of country’s music heart and soul to be seated at the table.”

“Whether Knowles-Carter will address country music’s racialized past or shed light on its inherent lies is unknown, but like archangel Gabriel who blew the horn to bring forth Judgment Day. She has the ability to call into account those who kept country music from its rightful heirs. And maybe that’s all she needs to do on Act II,” the report continued.

KYKC general manager Roger Harris wrote in a statement, “We initially refused to play it in the same manner if someone requested us to play the Rolling Stones on our country station.”

He continued, “Fact is we play Beyoncé on TWO of our other stations and love her… she is an icon. We just didn’t know about the song… then when we found out about it, we tried to get the song… which we did and we have already played it three times on YKC, our country station. We also play her on 105.5, KXFC-FM and KADA-FM 0n 99.3.”

However, others pointed out this ignores Black people’s significant contributions to country music’s history and risks further erasing their legacy.

Commentary was also sparked by a viral post about a radio station initially rejecting one of Beyoncé’s new singles before agreeing to play it.

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