Beyonce smiles wearing a white cowboy hat.

Beyoncé Has Now Made History (Again) With ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’

Beyoncé makes history AGAIN.

Full disclosure, Beyoncé is my FAVORITE artist. Her impact on the industry and her achievements are pretty much second to none. I’ve followed her career forever and have been so proud to see a woman of color succeed so tremendously. And she is now adding another historic achievement: topping the Country charts!

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Her newly released song “Texas Hold ‘Em” has debuted at no. 1 on the famed Billboard Hot Country Songs chart!!! If you live under a rock, Beyoncé released two new songs following the Super Bowl, this one and another one called “16 Carriages.” As a humongous fan, I ran to listen to both of them as soon as they were released. I loved both of them but I knew that “Texas Hold ‘Em” had the potential to be a hit. I had doubts, though, because of the way the Country music industry can sometimes gatekeep Black artists and how the public perceives all of it. So I was UNBELIEVABLY ecstatic when I saw that the rodeo jam had topped the country charts. Beyoncé has become the first Black female artist to stand at the top of the Billboard Country Songs chart.

In 2024 that seems like such a wild thing to say, but it is the reality of the music industry. As a Country fan myself, I have seen the genre become more diverse, with artists like Kane Brown, Madeline Edwards, and others. But their representation has still been too scarce and they certainly haven’t dominated the charts the way their white counterparts have. Leave it to Queen Bey, though, to have a cross-genre hit and break the glass ceiling, as she has been doing her entire career.

The Guardian pointed out another element of this achievement that, to me, is maybe even more interesting. Beyoncé has now joined another undeniable SUPERSTAR, Taylor Swift, as the ONLY female artist to debut a song atop the Billboard Country Songs Chart as a solo act. Taylor did this in 2021 with re-recordings of some of her earlier songs. There are so many incredible women in the music industry and in the Country genre specifically, so there being only two women with this accomplishment seems inconceivable. 

Beyoncé has also become the first woman EVER to sit in the number one spot on the Hot Country Songs Chart and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Chart. The lists have been around since 1958 so that is quite an incredible record to hold. Through her dominance in the industry, we are continuing to uncover levels of misogyny most of us didn’t even know were there. When you factor in the intersectionality of race, the divisions become even clearer and wider. This has been illuminated by the obsession with the categorization of “Texas Hold ‘Em.” As someone who has listened to it dozens of times, I know that it is a Country song. I mean, I knew this immediately. People only had reservations because it is Beyoncé who is the artist. This bias was recently on full display in Oklahoma when a radio station refused to play her new hit song.

One fan recently went viral when they tweeted that Oklahoma station KYKC 100.1 FM would not play their requested song, “Texas Hold ‘Em.” Smartly, the fan shared a screenshot of their email exchange with KYKC, in which the station said: “We do not play Beyoncé on KYKC as we are a country music station.”

This is really stupid. Artists can make music that encapsulates any genre. I remember when Lil Wayne, the famed rapper, started making rock music and people lost their minds. As just one of many examples. But if Beyoncé has a song that is clearly country to the ear, why should that not be categorized as such? Even Taylor Swift switched to more of a pop sound after dominating in the country genre. Now if Taylor was to go back to a strict country sound, I think no one would have a problem classifying it as such. So why the double standards?

The music industry and culture at large, likes to pigeonhole Black artists. I also remember Rihanna being classified as “R&B” at a time when she was obviously making hardcore pop music. A white artist would not have been labeled that way. That Tennessee radio station did play “Texas Hold ‘Em,” but seemingly only after scores of Beyhive members took over social media demanding that they do so and/or be held accountable.

I am glad that my favorite artist is continuing to break barriers and I hope that this will enable us to have further and more critical discussions about what music means and what it can be.

(featured image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)


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