Kamala Harris on Beyoncé’s Country Album: ‘You Have Redefined a Genre’

by Xara Aziz
Left: Noah Berger/AFP via Getty Images/Right: Instagram @beyonce

It’s already been a week since Beyoncé released Cowboy Carter, an enriching album “born out of an experience that I had years ago where I did not feel welcomed,” she wrote in an Instagram post promoting the album ahead of its release. “And it was very clear that I wasn’t.”

Many speculate she was referring to her appearance at the 2016 Country Music Awards, where she performed Lemonade’s Daddy’s Lessons with the Dixie Chicks.

Since its release, scores of fans have come out in support of the album, including Vice President Kamala Harris.

“Beyoncé: Thank you for reminding us to never feel confined to other people’s perspective of what our lane is,” Harris shared on X. “You have redefined a genre and reclaimed country music’s Black roots. Your music continues to inspire us all.”

Before the album was released, the 42-year-old mother of three revealed that the album was five years in the making.

“I feel honored to be the first Black woman with the number one single on the Hot Country Songs chart,” she wrote in an Instagram post 10 days before the album dropped. “That would not have happened without the outpouring of support from each and every one of you. My hope is that years from now, the mention of an artist’s race, as it relates to releasing genres of music, will be irrelevant.”

She continued: “Did a deeper dive into the history of Country music and studied our rich musical archive. It feels good to see how music can unite so many people around the world, while also amplifying the voices of some of the people who have dedicated so much of their lives educating on our musical history. The criticisms I faced when I first entered this genre forced me to propel past the limitations that were put on me. act ii is a result of challenging myself, and taking my time to bend and blend genres together to create this body of work.”

The first two singles off the album, Texas Hold ‘Em and 16 Carriages, are already making waves, notably propelling Beyoncé to become the first Black woman to reign atop Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. However, it’s important to recognize that “Cowboy Carter” isn’t confined solely to the country genre. Beyoncé ventures into a diverse array of musical styles on this album, spanning hip-hop, bluegrass, Latin rock, pop, surf rock, club music, rockabilly, and even incorporating a touch of opera.

Beyoncé expressed her aspiration for a future where an artist’s race holds no relevance in the context of releasing music across genres, stating, “My hope is that years from now, the mention of an artist’s race, as it relates to releasing genres of music, will be irrelevant.”

This sentiment resonates with an anecdote frequently shared by Harris, drawing from her Black and Indian heritage. She often recalls her mother’s advice: “don’t let people tell you who you are — instead, tell them who you are.”

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