As Beyoncé prepares to show up and show out at the Country Music Association Awards tonight, I've got a little history lesson for you. Despite claims to the contrary, Bey is just as entitled to the genre as the award show's overwhelmingly white pool of nominees. Indeed: Country music — mostly associated with white fans and artists — has Black origins. Khari Jackson, a cartoonist and archivist, schooled Bey's haters with a deep dive into the genre's roots. Instead of looking at country music as a white art form, we all ought to recognize its importance to the African diaspora.
Notice that this is an argument in favor of reclaiming country music's Black legacy. It's not about invading the CMAs — because truly, who needs them?
See the subtle racism in critiques that Lemonade's "Daddy Lessons" doesn't actually qualify as country music. It doesn't matter where a song is recorded or the race of the singer: "Daddy Lessons" is about as country as it comes. And according to her collaborators, Bey is a musician who's familiar with country music's history.