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Beyonce Receives Backlash After Country Music Awards Performance

We explore the hypocrisy surrounding the Country community’s Beyonce backlash.

5th Nov 2016

Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Beyonce’s Country Music Awards performance with the Dixie Chicks is certainly causing up a stir online this week, but we really need to get to the bottom of why country fans were so offended by her presence.

For those who didn’t know, Queen B put on a fantastic performance of her country tinged track ‘Daddy’s Lessons’ fusing it with Dixie Chick classic ‘Long Time Gone’ at the 50th Anniversary of the Country Music Awards. Predictably, the performance was fantastic so if artistry wasn’t the cause of the backlash, what on earth could it be?

A lot of the sentiment from naysayers was the idea that Beyonce did not belong; that she had no right to be at the event. As an artist who has won twenty Grammys, sold millions of albums worldwide and is arguably the most influential woman in the music industry, you would think the Country community would appreciate her respectful appearance with Country legends The Dixie Chicks. However, there has been such a negative response to her appearance, many with racist undertones emphasising how divided America is at the moment.

Of course, Beyonce’s infamous fan base ‘The BeyHive’ struck back in the singer’s defence. They highlighted that the CMAs would receive a much needed ratings boost that the ‘Lemonade’ star would surely guarantee and that Beyonce’s performance would draw in a new crowd to discover Country music – on a whole they actually made some very good points. Last year, it seemed like country fans had no problem with Justin Timberlake’s joint performance with country star Chris Stapleton; in fact, they embraced it warmly so there was clearly something more sinister going on here.

Is it a race thing?

One thing to highlight was that a lot of Country fans were attacking Beyonce for her political position and her allegiance with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. In 2016, the star has taken a strong stance against police brutality with an unapologetic ode to the Black Panther Party during her SuperBowl Half Time performance. Many naysayers (cough haters) labelled it Un-American, that again, she had no right to use the platform in that way, but surely an artist has a right to use their platform to highlight issues they’re passionate about? In this case, her performance had no political angles, it was just a fantastic display of artistry which The Dixie Chicks seemed to enjoy, posting a celebratory selfie with Beyonce after the performance. If it was not initially clear that the backlash was because of her association with ‘Black Lives Matter’ then these tweets certainly prove it indeed was. One tweet read: “Boycott the CMA Awards since they are having Black Lives Matter and Black Panthers supporter Beyonce perform.’ These sentiments are harming the Country community rather than potentially exposing the beautiful purity Country music has to offer a younger audience. An audience that perhaps without Beyonce’s presence would not have had the curiosity to tune in.

The Hypocrisy

Since Bey is married to one of the legends of Hip Hop, Jay Z and is firmly part of our culture, it’s important to note one thing: It seems a lot easier to get away with appropriating Hip Hop Culture than other genres. Elements of the genre seem to crop up everywhere and it something that Hip Hop fans have come to accept. When other genres take elements of Hip Hop whether it be through fashion in videos or Hip Hop style, Hip Hop fans either forced to accept it or embrace it proudly, highlighting that our culture is making a wider impact. In the case of Beyonce and the CMAs, Beyonce was not even appropriating Country music, she’s from a typically country state (Texas) and she has been influenced by stereotypically Southern genres of music due to her upbringing in the South. The backlash and insults were unnecessary and the CMAs made a further hash of the whole situation by deleting footage of the performance. The more people they would have saw, the more would have been convinced that the singer did belong at the show that night.

Ultimately, at Keakie we’re all for genre blending and we’re typically against labels. Let artists be artist, the collaboration between Beyonce and The Dixie Chicks bridged the gap between genres which otherwise would have seemed pretty distant; the performance was great, so what’s the issue? The naysayers should learn to embrace artists who want to bless the ceremony, especially when they do so respectfully. It’s clear that a lot of the backlash came from Beyonce’s political position and many had racist undertones – this is problematic. I hope the star continues to silence any critics through her fantastic performances and continues to proudly represent social movements she’s passionate about; one thing no one can deny is her talent.

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