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Beyoncé addresses criticism ahead of release of new country album

Beyoncé has hit back at critics of her decision to record a new album inspired by country music, saying “the criticisms I faced when I first entered this genre forced me to propel past the limitations that were put on me”.

The pop superstar, 42, previously announced that her next record, which has the full title Act II: Cowboy Carter, will be released on 29 March.

It serves as the follow-up to her acclaimed 2022 album Act I: Renaissance.

With ten days to go until the release date, the “Single Ladies” singer has posted a statement to her website and social media channels.

It reads in full: “Today marks the 10-day countdown until the release of act ii. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of the supporters of TEXAS HOLD ‘EM and 16 CARRIAGES. I feel honored to be the first Black woman with the number one single on the Hot Country Songs chart. 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.

“This album has been over five years in the making. It was born out of an experience that I had years ago where I did not feel welcomed…and it was very clear that I wasn’t. But, because of that experience, I 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.

Beyonce at the premiere of her film ‘Renaissance’ in 2023 (Beyonce.com)
Beyonce at the premiere of her film ‘Renaissance’ in 2023 (Beyonce.com)

“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.

“I have a few surprises on the album, and have collaborated with some brilliant artists who I deeply respect. I hope that you can hear my heart and soul, and all the love and passion that I poured into every detail and every sound.

“I focused on this album as a continuation of RENAISSANCE…I hope this music is an experience, creating another journey where you can close your eyes, start from the beginning and never stop.

“This ain’t a Country album. This is a “Beyoncé” album. This is act ii COWBOY CARTER, and I am proud to share it with y’all!”

Beyoncé first announced the new album at the same time as surprise releasing two country songs during the Super Bowl, “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages”.

A teaser clip for “Texas Hold ‘Em” paid homage to Wim Wenders’ 1984 road movie Paris, Texas.

The German director told The Independent: “Wow! Who’d a thunk it, that Travis on his long way home to Paris, Texas would turn out to be a Beyoncé fan! With a bit of luck at the poker table, it might turn out to be a perfect day!”