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To: Country Music Television (CMT), Country Music Association (CMA), CMA CEO Sarah Trahern

CMT & CMA: Invite Beyoncé to perform at this year’s awards!

Demand that the country music industry acknowledge country music's roots in Black music history, and celebrate Beyoncé's new album by inviting her to perform at the CMT and CMA awards this spring!

Why is this important?

Country music is Black history. Country music, like many, many other genres, was invented by Black people, but racism, gatekeeping, whitewashing, and erasure in country music actively prevents Black artists from getting credit and being celebrated for their work. But this is not new. The latest?

Beyoncé dropped two new country singles “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages,” and it wasn’t long before the racism, revisionist history, and gatekeeping began. First, Apple Music categorized the songs in the “Pop music” category when the songs are clearly country. And when fans started requesting Beyoncé’s new songs at their local country stations, many of their requests were rejected. One station, KYKC, even responded to a fan’s request saying “We do not play Beyonce on KYKC as we are a country music station." The country music industry must finally reckon with its own racism and anti-Blackness, celebrate the roots of country in Black history, and celebrate Black artists reclaiming a genre they birthed.

A study discovered that out of 11,000+ songs played on country radio from 2002 to 2020, only 3% of those were from Black and brown artists, and of that 3%, only ⅓ were from Black and brown women.

That means that Black and brown women represented only 0.001% of songs played by country radio over the course of 18 years. It’s outrageous, but unfortunately, unsurprising. This has to end NOW.

In 2016, Beyoncé performed at the CMA awards and invited The Chicks to join her on stage to sing “Daddy Lessons.” The incredible performance was met with backlash from racist conservatives who said Beyoncé wasn’t “country enough” and didn’t belong. They felt the need to “protect” the genre from artists like Beyoncé (who has always been country).

The day after the performance, fans noticed that there was no mention of Beyoncé, The Chicks, or their rendition of “Daddy Lessons” on the CMA website or social accounts, despite posting other performances from the night before, which made it seem like they were caving to the backlash from racist conservatives.

Around 4:35 p.m after fans called them out, they finally shared the performance on its page. The CMA has a chance to make this right. Will you sign the petition to demand that they invite Beyoncé to perform at this year’s awards?

The banjo, one of the central instruments in country music, originated in Africa and was brought to the United States by enslaved African people. White people then appropriated the banjo and began using it for minstrel shows, where they would wear Blackface and mock Black people and Black culture. It's disgusting and dehumanizing.

This led to the rise of hillbilly music as a marketing category, which became associated with a white, rural, Southern audience. That’s when “race records” were created to segregate Black people out of the genre that they created, and music executives refused to let Black folks record songs that they deemed to be “hillbilly,” purposefully white-washing the genre even further.

This history of country music shows how Jim Crow segregation harmed Black country music artists then, and still harms them today.

Black music artists like Beyoncé are reclaiming country, a genre that was theirs to begin with. And we need to be in solidarity with them and challenge the status quo to pave the way for Black people to get a seat at a table that they created.

We can’t sit idly by and watch this continue. Getting the country music industry---from radio stations to awards to other prominent artists---to honor Beyoncé’s new songs as country is just one small step to bringing about change. But with Beyoncé being the biggest artist in the world, this is an opportunity for us to keep pushing, educating, and fighting for change, and the impacts of our advocacy will pave the way for other Black country artists for generations to come.

Will you take action now and sign the petition?


2024-04-03 19:12:39 -0400

500 signatures reached

2024-02-21 16:53:39 -0500

100 signatures reached

2024-02-21 16:07:16 -0500

50 signatures reached

2024-02-21 15:52:10 -0500

25 signatures reached

2024-02-21 15:48:53 -0500

10 signatures reached