Is country radio refusing to play Beyoncé's Texas Hold 'Em? The controversy explained

14 February 2024, 17:37

Beyoncé announces Act II with visual teaser

Sam  Prance

By Sam Prance

Beyoncé's 'Texas Hold 'Em' and '16 Carriages' are classic country songs. Is country radio playing them though?

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Refusing to play Beyoncé's actual country music on a country radio station? Don't be a bitch, come take it to the floor now!

On Sunday (Feb 11), Beyoncé stopped the world (world stop, carry on) by confirming rumours that she is releasing a country album. If that weren't exciting enough, she also dropped two songs from the project. 'Texas Hold 'Em' is a classic country jam tailor made for a hoedown and '16 Carriages' is a stirring country ballad about Beyoncé's childhood and career.

Now, reports have surfaced that country radio stations are refusing to play Beyoncé's new music. Is there any truth to the reports though and what are country radio stations actually saying about Beyoncé's venture into country music?

READ MORE: Beyoncé praised for new country album after racist backlash to her CMAs performance

Is Beyoncé's Texas Hold 'Em being blacklisted by country radio? The controversy explained
Is Beyoncé's Texas Hold 'Em being blacklisted by country radio? The controversy explained. Picture: Mason Poole/Parkwood Media/Getty Images for Atlantis The Royal, Parkwood

Yesterday (Feb 13), a fan of Beyoncé's named Justin tweeted: "I requested Texas Hold ‘Em at my local country radio station (KYKC) and after requesting, i received an email from the radio station stating “We do not play Beyoncé on KYKC as we are a country music station."

They also posted a screen shot of the email they received from KYKC.

Historically country radio has been criticised for refusing to embrace Black artists despite Black people pioneering the genre. 'Texas Hold 'Em' and '16 Carriages' both feature country instrumentation played by Black country musicians including Rhiannon Giddens and Robert Randolph.

Justin's tweets quickly went viral with many criticising KYKC for refusing to play Beyoncé's new country music. Now KYKC, has released a statement to The Shade Room in which they expand on their original email.

They said: "I think we issued just a generic reply when we should have been more detailed. If someone emailed our country station and requested a Rolling Stones song we would have probably replied the same. Beyoncé is known for NOT being a country artist, so we just replied to that effect."

They then added: "But...we are actually excited that she has 'crossed over' to a new genre and we will watch it closely to see if bigger stations start playing it and to watch it on the chart. We do play the song on our Top 40 station, KXFC, but haven't added it yet to our country station."

They ended the statement by writing: "We are big Beyoncé fans here and really hope it does well, as we like seeing new artists get into the format."

They're not playing 'Texas Hold 'Em' or '16 Carriages' at the moment, but may play them going forward.

Beyoncé - TEXAS HOLD 'EM (Official Lyric Video)

Beyoncé - 16 CARRIAGES (Official Lyric Video)

As for country stations at large, Billboard recently spoke to Bo Matthews, who is the programming director of Alpha Media’s KBAY. They played 'Texas Hold ‘Em' twice on Monday and said listener reaction has been "split."

Bo explained: "It’s one of the biggest celebrities in the world doing a country song and I think that’s exciting for the format. I think it’s different to hear Beyoncé on a country radio station. We’re going to play it more and see if it the audience likes it and let them allow to be the decider as to whether or not it continues to be on the playlist."

Meanwhile, country music radio host Bobby Bones joined the conversation on Twitter. He tweeted: "I know people are all up in arms on twitter. About what is and what isn’t country. But that Beyoncé song is legit. 'Texas Hold 'Em' is great. We just got it serviced to us this afternoon, but I’ll play it tomorrow."

Bobby also added the song to iHeart's Women of Country playlist.

This isn't the first time that Beyoncé has divided the country music community with her music. In 2016, Beyoncé performed her country song 'Daddy Lessons' with The Chicks at the CMAs. The rendition was met with a mix of support from country music superstars and racist backlash from viewers who said she didn't belong at the ceremony.

'Texas Hold ‘Em' officially impacts country radio on February 20th. So, we'll have to wait until then to find out then whether or not country stations embrace the song.

In the meantime, we'll be enjoying the real-life boogie and the real-life hoedown Beyoncé's given us.

What do you think of Beyoncé's country songs?

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