Faces of Black Excellence

Beyoncé silences critics as she becomes first Black woman to hit No. 1 on Billboard country albums chart

Beyoncé has broken a groundbreaking feat once again. Her latest album, “Act II: Cowboy Carter,” has soared to the top of the Billboard Country Albums chart, making her the first Black woman to accomplish this since the chart’s inception in 1964.

The album also claimed the No. 1 spot on the all-genres Billboard 200, marking her eighth chart-topping album.

According to industry data from Luminate, “Cowboy Carter” amassed 407,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in its first week, combining sales and on-demand streams, as reported by AP.

Beyoncé is now seen as a force challenging stereotypes by embracing country music as a Black woman, countering its traditional association with whiteness.

The conversation about Beyoncé’s foray into country music started with her striking appearance at the 2024 Grammy Awards, dressed in cowboy attire, sending a powerful message.

She further showcased her hybrid country style during the Super Bowl with two songs, “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages,” paving the way for Cowboy Carter’s release.

In February, her song “Texas Hold ‘Em” reached the top spot on the country airplay chart, making her the first Black woman to accomplish this feat.

Earlier this month, the singer was honored with the Innovator Award at the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards. During her acceptance speech, she asked “all the record labels, every radio station, every award show” to be more open to innovation within the music industry, and more accepting of out-of-the-box ideas.

“Tonight you called me an innovator, and for that I’m very grateful,” Beyoncé said. “Innovation starts with a dream. But then you have to execute that dream, and that road can be very bumpy. Being an innovator is seeing what everyone believes is impossible. Being an innovator often means being criticized, which often will test your mental strength.”

“My hope is that we’re more open to the joy and liberation that comes from enjoying art, with no preconceived notions,” Beyoncé added.

Stephen Nartey

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