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Hold ’em! Beyoncé makes history as she tops Billboard’s country-music chart

Beyoncé wears a large white cowboy hat, sunglasses and a jeweled blazer to a fashion show
With “Texas Hold ’Em,” Beyoncé joins Taylor Swift as the only solo women to top Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart with no accompanying artists.
(James Devaney / GC Images via Getty Images)
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Beyoncé’s country music looks like it’s gonna stick around, ’round, ’round, ’round, ’round.

The “Break My Soul” singer empirically put to rest the debate about her inclusion in the genre when she made chart history Tuesday. Her twangy new singles “Texas Hold Em” and “16 Carriages” debuted on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, with the line dance challenge-inspiring “Texas Hold ’Em” holding up the No. 1 position and “16 Carriages” riding into the No. 9 spot of the Feb. 24 chart, which is based on streaming, airplay and sales.

Beyoncé joins Taylor Swift as the only solo women to clinch that achievement with no accompanying artists, Billboard said, and Bey makes history as the first woman to top both Billboard’s Hot Country Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts.

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An Oklahoma music radio station has reversed its decision not to play Beyoncé’s music after missing the fact that she had just dropped two new country songs.

Feb. 14, 2024

The superstar, who released the new songs after her Verizon commercial aired during Super Bowl LVIII earlier this month, joins Morgan Wallen,
Justin Bieber, Billy Ray Cyrus and Ray Charles as the only acts to have led both the Hot Country Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts, Billboard said.

Her pair of songs also charted on the publication’s all-genre Billboard Hot 100, with “Texas Hold ’Em” climbing to the No. 2 spot and “16 Carriages” parking at No. 38.

While “Renaissance’s” first act stood on the shoulders of disco and club music giants — vogue-ing its way into the EDM genre in 2022 — the Destiny’s Child alum is similarly bringing her Houston country-music roots to “Act II,” the second album in her expected genre-jumping trilogy that debuts March 29.

Although she might be among the most recognized names, Bey is by no means the only Black artist making waves in country music. Hootie & the Blowfish alum Darius Rucker, Mickey Guyton, Kane Brown, Breland, Willie Jones, Jimmie Allen, Reyna Roberts, Blanco Brown, Tanner Adell and Brittney Spencer are just a few of the contemporary artists who have left their mark on the predominantly white genre that has long had a fraught history with racism.

Bey appeared to experience that firsthand back in 2016 when her “Lemonade” track “Daddy Lessons” — which highlighted her Southern roots with lyrics about her father, references to the Bible and the 2nd Amendment — was rejected by the Recording Academy’s country music committee for a Grammy Award nomination. Shortly thereafter, Bey proved that “Daddy Lessons” was unabashedly a country song by performing it at the 2016 Country Music Assn. Awards alongside the Chicks, and later released a version of the song featuring the country trio.

Even the late greats Olivia Newton-John and Tina Turner got pushback when they crossed over in the 1970s, as did rapper Lil Nas X when he released “Old Town Road” in 2019.

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Beyoncé said she wasn’t always ‘flawless’ when it comes to her hair, unveiling her longtime struggles with psoriasis. She launched her Cécred hair-care line on Monday.

Feb. 20, 2024

The Cécred founder similarly faced some resistance when she hard-launched onto the country-music scene this month, with the likes of actor and country musician John Schneider explicitly criticizing her country move (as well as the crossing over of other pop artists) and the Tennessean newspaper asking if the Nashville establishment would embrace her. Meanwhile, a country-music radio station in Oklahoma said it wasn’t even aware of Beyoncé’s latest pivot, initially denying requests to play her music on the station because it “just didn’t know about her foray in this genre.”

But “Texas Hold ’Em” is now officially being promoted to country radio and other formats, Columbia Nashville said in an email to stations on Feb. 14, Billboard said.

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