If This Ain’t Country, Expand Your Canon - Living Strong Television Network
If This Ain’t Country, Expand Your Canon

Beyoncé’s right. Whether listening to Cowboy Carter or reading theology, diversity is a good thing.

I wasn’t planning to listen to Cowboy Carter, the eighth studio album from American singer and songwriter Beyoncé. I’ve always had a love for her music—but country has never been my thing.

Plans changed when I started to read what people were writing about the record, from comments on social media to reviews in major publications. Their reactions were bitter, even cruel. “Beyoncé’s ‘Cowboy Carter’ isn’t a country album. It’s worse,” proclaimed one review in The Washington Post. “Beyoncé has chosen to do Dolly Parton karaoke,” writes the reviewer. “She sounds like she’s doing Wild West bedroom cosplay in outer space.”

“The lefties in the entertainment industry just won’t leave any area alone, right?” asked an interviewer on a One America News program. “They’ve got to make their mark, just like a dog in a dog walk park,” responded the interviewee.

It’s not that Cowboy Carter is exempt from criticism. Its genre-blending experimentation won’t be to everyone’s taste. Some listeners may have reservations about Beyoncé’s departure from her earlier pop and R & B records. That’s fine. Music, like all art forms, is subjective. Thoughtful critique can serve as a means for musicians to grow as artists, and to engage audiences in meaningful ways.

But that’s different from implying that Beyoncé can’t and shouldn’t sing country music simply because of who she is: not a white man from a rural small town, but a Black woman raised in Houston. A “stay in your place” undercurrent cuts through how critics have spoken about her …

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