Music Beyonce

Beyonce performs at a Get Out the Vote concert at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio on Nov. 4, 2016. Andrew Harnik/Associated Press file

Beyoncé, who recently debuted two country-infused songs from her upcoming album, has become the first Black woman to top Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

The singer’s banjo-heavy track, “Texas Hold ’Em,” holds the No. 1 slot, and “16 Carriages” ranks at No. 9, the publication said. She dropped the two songs shortly after teasing new music in a Verizon ad that aired during the Super Bowl.

“The amount of airplay it had in it its first week is quite astonishing and unprecedented,” said Jada Watson, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa who studies radio airplay and popularity charts. Only six Black female solo artists had previously made it onto the country chart since the late 1950s, along with the Pointer Sisters group. Watson said the chart’s highest-ranking Black woman before Beyoncé was Linda Martell, who peaked at No. 22 with “Color Him Father” in 1969.

Beyoncé is also the first woman to have topped both Billboard’s country and R&B/hip-hop lists since records began in 1958, Billboard reported.

Fans quickly hailed her embrace of country music, with one writing on social media: “Bey says country, we go country!” As The Washington Post previously noted, although this is not the first time the Houston native has paid homage to her country roots in her performances and appearances, the new music highlighted barriers that Black artists have frequently faced in that genre.

With “Texas Hold ’Em” fever setting in, many fans have embraced the fashion trend dubbed “cowboycore,” donning various types of cowboy hats and boots – metallic silver, snake print, ones with tassel trim – as they shared videos of them dancing to the hit song. Beyoncé herself has been photographed wearing cowboy hats in public appearances and promotional footage in recent weeks.


Among those racking up millions of views with their Bey-inspired dances were twins in checkered shirts, professional Irish dancers and a couple who have been married for 50 years.

Beyoncé’s two new country songs are part of her long-anticipated album, which is set to be released on March 29. Fans saw the songs – and the shift in genre – as a sign that the body of work, named “Act II” for now, will be a full-length country album.

Although many have supported Beyoncé’s new songs and crossover into the country, the move has not come without fresh scrutiny for the star, whose first country song, “Daddy Lessons” (2016), exposed deep divides in the country music industry.

Some country music fans argued that the song didn’t belong in the genre, and it was blocked from country music categories at the Grammys.

Black people have been largely excluded from country music – despite the art form being rooted in Black history.

In 2019, rapper Lil Nas X’s country-inspired rap track, “Old Town Road,” was removed from Billboard’s Hot Country Songs. While many deemed it the song of the summer, gatekeepers of country music were confused and outraged.


“While ‘Old Town Road’ incorporates references to country and cowboy imagery, it does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version,” Billboard wrote at the time, noting that its decision to drop the song from the country chart “had absolutely nothing to do with the race of the artist.”

“I think it is telling that it’s 2024 and we’re getting the first No. 1 country song by a Black woman,” Watson said. She noted that Beyoncé “comes with a massive audience, a massive level of support that [other] Black female artists haven’t been able to build in the same way because the industry hasn’t supported them.”

“The important next step is that Beyoncé doesn’t just become a flash in the pan,” she said. “That the industry takes this as an opportunity to build for Black women in this format.”

The Washington Post’s Janay Kingsberry, Praveena Somasundaram and Avi Selk contributed to this report.

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