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Welcome (Back) to Beyoncé’s Internet

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Welcome (Back) to Beyoncé’s Internet

There is an annoying one a not-so-secret secret that no one likes to talk about, so it’s best to start there: black women are among the most hated groups in the world. There is anti-blackness, especially in America. It’s everywhere, even when you can’t see it. From the ivory halls of Washington to C-suites at Fortune 500 companies, blackness is treated as less than. And because that’s how it works and how it’s worked generation after generation, even Beyoncé, currently the most dominant force in music, can’t escape the fangs of misogyny.

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: A black woman was told she didn’t belong, that she was not welcome in a certain space, so she paved a path all her own. That’s the story Beyoncé told in an Instagram post in March, the day she announced her new country album: Cowboy Carter. “The criticism I faced when I first entered this genre forced me to go beyond the limitations placed on me,” she wrote. Unlike other music genres, country is notorious for the people it seeks to exclude. The history of the genre is full of loyalty to the old ways of American prejudice, and no amount of attitude or social position can change that.

The sweet irony, of course, is that we now have that Cowboy Carterthe second part of a project of historical and musical restoration in three acts that Beyoncé began in 2022 Renaissance, her dancefloor tribute to house music. She’s on a mission reclaim her time.

Beyoncé, the rare artist who can make such a smart move, now represents something bigger than music. She’s an industry unto herself: boastful and daring in reach, with a built-in fanbase anticipating every album drop, Instagram post and product release. Whether you agree with the motivations behind her work or not (and there are). justified criticism be made for artists who create on such a grand scale as they do; massive influence in all areas of life necessitates questioning, there is no denying that), no other contemporary black musician will bring more consciousness to the country’s gated pastures – its past, present and possible future – than Beyoncé. If nothing else, she gets people talking.

“I actually want to thank the CMAs for pissing her off,” X user @gardenoutro wrote Friday morning, just after midnight, in the hour after the album’s official release, drawing attention to Beyoncé’s 2016 performance with the Chicks that was later shunned by members of the Country Music Association. Where Lemonade was scorned memoirs and Renaissance flirting with fantasy – a disco-lit dreamscape where freedom and love have no opposite –Cowboy Carter unravels as autofiction, combining biography with novelistic flair in songs like ‘Daughter’ and ‘Spaghettii’. It takes the country into unknown territory. “It’s easy to listen to 27 songs when they’re all good,” songwriter Rob Milton wrote on X.

That’s the other thing about the Beyoncé effect: there’s no room for dissent in her universe. Online, and especially on social media, her new albums are given billboard status. It is a cause for celebration, but rarely for challenge or keen inquiry.

“Many people still want to participate in something bigger than themselves. Fandom gives them a way to do that. However, it is not entirely a utopian space,” says Mark Duffett, a professor at the University of Chester who researches fandom. “The concerns and problems that society has are reflected in fan communities. They cannot avoid being part of the broader social world.”

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