The CMAs, Beyoncé, and the Erasure of Black Contributions to Country
This week, Beyoncé fans (collectively known as The Beyhive) were excited to hear that she would be performing her surprise country song “Daddy Lessons,” at the Country Music Awards. It was of course empowering to hear that Beyoncé, a black woman who is dominating music, was branching out into country, a genre that is a part of her and many black people’s roots.
Watch the show-stopping performance below.
After word got out about Beyonce’s performance, many shared their excitement on social media. However, many also shared their disdain for Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks. Specifically, people were upset both about Beyonce’s Superbowl performance and support for Black Lives Matter. People still hate the Dixie Chicks because of what lead singer Natalie Maines said about former President George Bush. Overall, there was a clear effort to deny Bey’s right to perform country music.
Besides the blatant sexism against these female performers, it is important to remember that country music is black music. Beyoncé is right where she belongs, since, besides being endlessly talented, black artists have always contributed to the country sound. DeFord Bailey, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Ruby Falls and endless other unnamed black southern musicians made country music, even as it went stolen or uncelebrated.
What is worse, the CMAs apparently erased all evidence of Beyonce’s performance on Thursday after the awards. Her name or performance was nowhere to be found on the CMA website, although many angry comments from CMA fans were present. However, the CMAs did return the videos and promotional materials of the performance after publications took notice. It goes to show that black women’s contributions (to country music, or any other field) must be stood up for and protected.
Photo Credits: Flickr, ABC